BROOKLET — The Yellow Jackets dropped two consecutive games at home for the first time since the start of the season to end the team’s hope of a state title Wednesday afternoon.
Against Hart County High School in the second round of the state playoffs, Southeast Bulloch High School lost a double-header against the Bulldogs 10-0 in Game 1 and 13-3 in Game 2 to end the Yellow Jackets’ season.
SEB (17-8) finished the regular season on an 11-game win streak at home, but couldn’t match the Bulldogs’ fire power at the plate.
“Tonight didnt work out how we would have liked. We didn’t have our best games, but we fought and we battled,” said SEB head coach Brandon Peterson. “I’m proud of these guys. We accomplished a lot this season and a lot of people didn’t think we would accomplish much based on how many we graduated but these guys worked their butts off. We did some things people didn’t expect us to do.”
Many thought this season would be a rebuilding year for the Jackets after losing a core group of seniors from last year’s squad.
Coach Peterson said he’s excited about the future of the team after advancing to the AAA Sweet 16 this year. The Yellow Jackets will graduate just four seniors this year.
“Hopefully our younger guys can use this season as a building block to improve on,” Peterson said after his team’s season-ending losses. “We graduate a small number of seniors this year, but we have another group of seniors that need to step up. Each season is different and our guys are going to have to work hard and build their own identity for next year.”
Two big innings for the Bulldogs derailed the Yellow Jackets’ hopes of winning Game 1.
The Bulldogs got on top early with four runs in the top of the third inning. The Bulldogs loaded the bases in the second inning with nothing to show for it, but broke through in the third. A bases-loaded walk in the fifth inning and a bases-clearing double for Hart County pushed the lead to 8-0. The Bulldogs would add two runs to win by mercy rule after the fifth inning.
With the season on the line, the Yellow Jackets’ bats came alive to start Game 2. Matthew Shumate would start a two-out rally with Klay Carter on base. Shumate’s RBI single to left field gave the Yellow Jackets an early 1-0 lead. Later in the inning, Westen Edenfield added an RBI single of his own to push SEB’s lead to 3-0.
The lead would be short-lived however as the Bulldogs battled back to score eight runs in the bottom half of the inning. Hart County scored four runs with two outs in the first. Back-to-back errors at first and second kept the inning alive.
“We gave them too many chances. When you give a good ballclub too many chances you’re going to pay for it,” Peterson said.
The Yellow Jackets had a few chances to cut into the Bulldogs’ lead. In the top of the fifth the Yellow Jackets had runners on the corners with just one out, but a double play ended the inning.
Hart County would come back to score five runs in the bottom half to put the game away.
“I’m very proud of these guys and we just didn’t have our best stuff. Hats off to Hart County. They’re a good ball club,” Peterson said.