SYLVANIA — In a showdown of teams that entered Friday unbeaten in Region 3-AA play, it was Southeast Bulloch that came out on top, erasing a three-run deficit midway through the game and pulling away late for a 10-7 victory over rival Screven County.
After jumping out to a 4-0 lead in the top of the first inning, the Yellow Jackets (9-4, 4-0) watched as the Gamecocks (8-6, 3-1) powered their way to a 7-4 advantage. But SEB struck for four more runs in the top of the fourth and added two more in the seventh to grab the win.
With the victory, the Jackets broke their tie with Screven for the top spot in the sub-region and are the final unbeaten team in Region 3-AA.
“This was absolutely a big win for us,” said SEB coach Brandon Peterson. “Screven is a good team and we know that we’re in for a tough game every time we play them. We were glad to come out on top and I think this will just build that much more confidence for our guys down the stretch.”
While the Yellow Jacket bats lit up the scoreboard, it was Eli Page that sealed the win for SEB.
After rallying to take an 8-7 lead in the top of the fourth, Page relieved Jacket starter Gage Weaver and finished off the final four innings for SEB. Page was as efficient as he was effective against the Screven bats, allowing just two hits to close it out.
Page was also right in the middle of both of SEB’s four-run innings.
Leading off the game, Page singled and came around to score on a two-run, bases loaded double by Seth Morgan (2-for-5, 2 doubles, 3 RBIs). Gamecock starter Kameron Oliver retired the next two SEB batters, but an error prevented a potential inning-ending grounder off the bat of Tyler Brown and two more runners crossed the plate for a 4-0 lead.
Screven bounced back in the bottom of the first as Chandler Johnson, Blake Evans and Duane Heindel all recorded RBI singles.
The Gamecocks tied the game at 4-4 in the second when Oliver singled home Patrick Scarboro and Jonathan Long put Screven ahead with a two-run home run to right center.
Screven’s lead stretched to 7-4 in the third inning as Trenton Owens raced home on a wild pitch, but that’s when the Yellow Jackets sprung back to life.
Brown began the rally by reaching on an error and advanced to second base after Aaron Rowe drew a walk.
Page singled home Brown and Taylor Burroghs brought in Rowe with an RBI single of his own. Tyler Epps’ single plated Page to tie the game and a two-out hit by Ryan Adams brought home Epps to give SEB the lead for good.
“We had some solid at-bats with two outs tonight,” said Peterson. “We’re always telling our guys to focus on every pitch. That gets even more important in two-out situations, so it was good to see us come through like that.”
Screven’s best chance to climb back into the game came in the sixth when Oliver and Long reached second and third with no outs, but Page coaxed a pop up from Austin Peel and struck out Johnson before Rowe ran down Evans’ fly ball at the base of the wall in left center.
SEB plated a pair of insurance runs in the seventh on RBI hits by Epps and Morgan before Page slammed the door in the bottom half, retiring the Gamecocks in order and catching Cameron Martin looking at strike three to end the game.
The Jackets are off this weekend, but return to sub-region play Tuesday as they travel to Augusta to take on Laney.
Mike Anthony can be reached at (912) 489-9404.