BROOKLET — The two games between Southeast Bulloch and Tattnall County Tuesday afternoon looked similar to a tale of two cities. The first game, a pitchers’ duel ending in dramatic fashion. The second game, a 12-run blowout.
Southeast Bulloch came out on top winning 2-1 in game one and 14-2 in game two, clinching the Yellow Jackets state playoff berth.
“Tattnall County is a good ball club, and to make it out of their side of the region means they can play. It was a tight game between us in the regular season, so we expected a tough one,” SEB head coach Brandon Peterson said.
The Yellow Jackets narrowly edged the Warriors in the regular season 7-6.
“Both teams played really well and we were fortunate to get it. I’m proud of our guys. We played hard and did the things we needed to do,” Peterson said.
Game one, featuring Bryce Harnage on the mound, had its fair share of late drama. With the score tied at 1-1 in the bottom of the seventh inning, Zach Owen delivered a clutch hit between the third base and shortstop gap to score Klay Carter and send the team into a frenzy.
“It was crazy. It’s hard for me to say anything. It was awesome having the team dog-pile on me,” Owen said, laughing. “For me it’s just awesome. I’m just excited about it.”
It took four scoreless innings before SEB finally broke through with a big hit. Coincidently, it would be Harnage helping his own cause in the fifth. Trailing 1-0, Harnage tied the game with a single up the middle on a 3-2 count with two outs.
Game two was a little more anti-climactic as the Yellow Jackets took a big lead early. SEB sent 12 batters to the plate in the first inning, scoring 10 runs.
“It’s a different mindset when you have a 10-run lead to work with,” Peterson said.
The Warriors bats wouldn’t be able to keep up against starting pitcher Daniel Sanford. Sanford not only had a big game on the mound, but hit a grand slam to extend the Yellow Jackets’ lead to 9-0 in the first inning.
“It was awesome seeing my teammate hit a grand slam. I don’t think I’ve ever seen one since I’ve been in high school,” said Owen about Sanford’s home run in the first.
The Yellow Jackets will now have the luxury of hosting a home state playoff game and still have a chance to win a region title.
“I’m just really proud of them. We graduated some good guys last year and all we’ve been hearing is, ‘rebuilding year,’ but we weren’t satisfied with that and our guys weren’t ok with that,” Peterson said.
The Yellow Jackets will take on Pierce County Friday with a shot at the region title on the line. An official game time has not been set, but Coach Peterson speculated it would be around 6 p.m.
Horace Holloman may be reached at (912) 489-9408.