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Jackets into state quarters
050418 SEB BASEBALL 02
Southeast Bulloch's Tyler Bailey slides into home with a grin while scoring the winning run on a base hit by Blaize Minick in the eighth inning against Worth County to advance to the state elite eight. - photo by Associated Press

In a game that had more ups and downs than a roller coaster ride, the Southeast Bulloch Yellow Jacket baseball team was one out away from reaching the state quarterfinals for the first time in school history. Worth County, however scored the tying run in the top of the seventh to knot things up.


Extra innings were needed to seal the deal, but it was SEB coming through again. Blaize Minick drove home Tyler Bailey with a single to left for the winning run and an 11-10 victory in the decisive third game of their Class AAA state playoff series.

“I’m so proud of our team for continuing to fight back today,” said Southeast Bulloch coach Brandon Peterson. “Hats off to Worth County as well, this was an exciting high school baseball game.”

Southeast Bulloch trailed 9-5 in the fifth inning, but took a 10-9 lead into the seventh. In the top of the seventh, the Yellow Jackets were one out away from celebrating the victory, but a hard ground ball to third by Jack Fletcher with runners on second and third handcuffed Peyton Carr, allowing D.J. Edwards to race home and make it 10-10.

Pitcher Cole Mincey was able to get out of the inning and then set the Rams down in the top of the eighth. In the bottom of the eighth, Bailey led off with a single to center. Slade Burgin moved Bailey to second with a sacrifice bunt and Minick roped a single to the gap in left center. Bailey slid head first into home and the Southeast Bulloch dugout rushed the field in celebration.

“This was a crazy game,” Bailey said. “As soon as I saw where Blaize hit it, I knew I was going to score.”

“Coach Peterson tells us we have to handle adversity, and I think we did that tonight,” Minick said. “I felt like I had to do my job, so I hit that into left, and when I saw Tyler slide home it was an amazing feeling.”

The Jackets came back from a 4-0 deficit to tie it in the third inning on a two-run double by Burgin, an error and a run forced in via a hit batter.

The Rams reclaimed an 8-4 advantage as Minick gave up four runs in the fourth inning, including walking in two runs. But again the Jackets responded, scoring four runs in the bottom of the sixth to take a 10-9 lead.

Bailey started the scoring in the sixth on a two-run single to left to slice the lead to 9-8. Minick then singled to right, plating Deloach. On the relay throw from right field, pitcher Jeremiah Reddell was hit in the head with the ball, allowing Bailey to score, and the Jackets took their first lead of the game at 10-9.

“Our team has had to come from behind to win a lot of games this year,” Peterson said. “It says a lot about our team, that you keep battling through adversity. Of all the things we did today, I’m most proud of the resolve of our team.”

The Yellow Jackets will be making their first ever appearance in the state quarterfinals. The 1972 team lost in the state title game, but there were only four regions in the state, so winning the region put you into the semifinals.

“This team is now a part of the history books at Southeast Bulloch,” Peterson said. “Now it’s time to put this behind us, and get ready for the quarterfinals.”

Southeast Bulloch will now host Lovett High, which beat No. 1 seed North Hall 5-4 - also in extra innings - in its decisive third game. The Jackets will start off with a doubleheader Wednesday in a best-of-three series, with the third game taking place Thursday if necessary.