Ten runs in the final two innings enabled the Screven County Gamecocks to live to play another day as they claimed a 12-4 victory over Jeff Davis in the second game of their doubleheader in first round of the Class AA state playoffs Friday. Combined with the Yellow Jackets 9-6 win in game one, the rubber contest of the series will be in Sylvania at 3:00 today.
“Our mood after game was that we wanted to be around tomorrow,” said SCHS Head Coach Billy Pollock. “We came out relaxed in the second game and did a lot of things right that maybe we didn’t do right in the first game.”
Having already fallen in game one, the Roosters trailed 3-2 heading into sixth inning of game two and seemed on the verge of being eliminated from the state playoffs at home by Jeff Davis for the second consecutive year. Eight batters pounded out five hits, plating four in the process to put SCHS on top 6-3 in that sixth inning. Now the Jackets, who acted as the home team in game two, were down to six outs themselves.
Though Jeff Davis pushed across one in the sixth to close the gap, Screven picked up another four hits, a pair of walks and an error to add six more runs to their total in the seventh to gain a 12-4 victory.
Senior Daniel Griffin went the distance in the second game scattering eight hits while striking out eight and walking three. “We knew that Daniel would keep us in the game,” said Pollock. “We just had to play like we were capable of playing.”
On the offensive side the Gamecocks battered a pair of Jeff Davis hurlers for 15 hits including three by catcher Auston Peel and a pair by the quartet of Joel Collins, Chandler Johnson, Cameron Martin and Devin Lawton. Collins had four RBIs on two-run doubles in both the sixth and seventh. Martin’s sixth-inning triple tied the game at three and he then scored the go-ahead run on a perfectly executed squeeze by Lawton.
“We hit the ball well in the first game (10),” said Pollock, “but we hit a lot of balls hard that went right to them. We got some breaks in the second game, and we played better defense. We also got our bunts down.”
Game one was a picture of frustration for the coaches of both teams. Jeff Davis scored two runs in each of the first four innings to take an 8-1 lead only to hold off the Gamecocks, who closed the gap to 9-6 and had the bases loaded in the bottom of the seventh inning. The Yellow Jackets picked up a pair of unearned runs off starter Joel Collins in the first and picked up runs on two-run doubles by Stephen Farris and Jesse Deats along with a two-run triple by Kody Waters over the next three frames.
Lefty Chris Mills entered in the fourth and held Jeff Davis to just one the rest of the way. SCHS got two of its own on a throwing error in the fourth; another two in the fifth on an RBI by Duane Heindel and another Jacket throwing error. Suddenly after a run scoring single by Johnson in the seventh, the gap was three.
Every starter in the Gamecock lineup got at least one hit with Johnson picking up two. Never did the team string together more than two hits in one inning. Jeff Davis stranded 13 runners in the game, including seven in scoring position.
SCHS, 3AA runners-up, is now 17-10 on the season while JDHS, the number three seed from 2AA, is 17-11.