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Jackets hold off cross-county rival Portal

    BROOKLET — Pitching and defense ruled the day, but Southeast Bulloch was able to wake up the bats just in time to rally for a 4-3 win over Portal Monday afternoon in Brooklet.
    Kathryn Cook led of the bottom of the sixth with a double and Jade Scarboro doubled home Cook to tie the game. Scarboro advanced to third on a groundout and scored on a wild pitch to provide the winning run.
    “That was huge having those girls come up with hits for us,” said SEB coach Aimee Civalier. “Kathryn Cook came off the bench and got the rally going. Jade got her home and then did some excellent base running to score the winning run.”
    The Lady Yellow Jackets led for much of the game, but Portal’s Nikki Sims drilled an RBI triple in the top of the fifth to tie the game at 2-2 and Megan Moore doubled home another in the sixth to give the Lady Panthers a 3-2 advantage.
    Down, but not out, the Jackets were able to come back with some timely hitting off of Hendley.
    “Everybody was fine, even when (Portal) came back,” said Civalier. “There was no panic. We’ve been in five one-run games already this season so we were prepared to come back at the end.”
    With Moore and Hendley keeping the SEB bats in check for much of the game, the Jackets turned to their own duo of pitchers to return the favor.
    Sophomore right-hander Effie Manahan got the start for SEB and allowed just one run in two innings of work on the mound before shifting behind the plate for the final five innings.
    Freshman Taylor Wilkes came in to finish the job and cruised into the fifth before running into trouble. Shaking off the Panther rally, Wilkes returned to the mound in the top of the seventh and set down Portal in order to lock up the win.
    “We’ve gotten into the rhythm of starting Effie on the mound and then bringing Taylor in,” said Civalier. “They both pitched very well for us today. That’s probably something we’ll stick with as long as it’s working.”
    Both teams got off to similar starts.
    Sims singled to right to lead off the game and reached third on a throwing error before Hedley drove her home with an RBI groundout.
    Ansley Rushing led off the bottom of the first with an infield single, taking second when no Portal fielder covered second and advancing to third on a throwing error. Lindsey Crosby then proceeded to knock Rushing in with an RBI groundout.
    SEB took a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the second when Leah McCarthy slapped a single into left field to score Ciera Clark, who came in to run after Megan Cook was injured sliding into third earlier in the inning.
    The Yellow Jackets return to play this afternoon as they resume their Region 3-AA schedule with a home matchup against Swainsboro at 5 p.m.     

    Mike Anthony can be reached at (912) 489-9404.