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Screven sweeps BCHS, punches ticket to state

            SYLVANIA – Screven County scored four in the first inning and never looked back, taking down Bleckley County by a score of 10-3 to notch a sweep in the opening round of the Region 3-AA tournament Monday evening.

            Austin Peel went 3-for-4 with two doubles and three runs batted in as the Gamecocks advanced to the region championship game.

            “We were focused on getting to (Bleckley) early,” said Screven coach Billy Pollock. “In both games, we were able to open up a lead, and both of today’s pitchers did an excellent job of throwing strikes and getting outs.”

            The Gamecocks went straight to work as Dalton Mills – who collected six hits in the doubleheader – took one off the shoulder to lead things off.

            Mills stole second and was singled home by Peel, who would eventually come around to score on a wild pitch by Royals’ starter Caleb Floyd.

            Duane Heindel (3-for-4, RBI) added a run-scoring single and Joel Collins closed out the first inning scoring with an RBI groundout to give Screven plenty of early breathing room.

            The early offense was all the Gamecocks’ starter Daniel Griffin needed.

            The senior righty allowed just two hits through the first four innings and wound up going the distance, allowing just three runs.

            Griffin ran into an early jam – loading the bases with just one out in the first inning – but he coaxed a foul popup for the second out and snared a hard grounder to escape without any damage.

            “Daniel got in a little trouble early, but was able to bear down,” said Pollock. “I think that getting through that first inning got him to relax. He was able to focus and give us a great effort.”

            Griffin helped his own cause in the fourth. Mills and Peel each doubled to lead off the inning, and Griffin laced a ball down the left field line to score both and bring the Gamecock advantage to 6-0. Bleckley fought back with two runs, but Screven responded with four more to keep the game well out of the Royals’ reach.

            With the win, Screven – which remains undefeated in region play – finds itself just one win away from a second consecutive region title.

            Friday, the Gamecocks travel to Toombs County for a one-game playoff to determine the 2010 Region 3-AA champion.


Screven County 13, Bleckley County 3 – 6 innings

Making the first start of his career, Joel Collins made it look easy.

Collins went the distance for the win in Screven’s 13-3 win over Bleckley in Monday’s first game.

“Joel came up big for us,” said Pollock. “With all of our injuries, we thought he could give us some innings. He ended up pitching a great game to get that first win.”

With the game still scoreless in the top of the second, Collins made one of his few mistakes on the day.

Caleb Bryant caught up to a high fastball and sent it over the center field wall for a 1-0 Bleckley lead.

But Collins settled down and the Gamecock offense broke out in full force.

Griffin gave Screven a lead it never relinquished with a two-run double in the bottom of the third, and Chandler Johnson followed with an RBI single.

The Gamecocks put things out of reach with seven more in the fourth.

Collins helped his own cause with a solo shot to lead off the inning.

Mills, Peel and Heindel all added RBI hits before Cameron Martin belted a two-run blast off the scoreboard for a 10-1 Gamecock lead.

The Royals managed two more unearned runs, but Screven scored again in the fifth, and a two-run single by Mills in the sixth brought the Gamecock lead to 10 and ended the game early via mercy rule.


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