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SEB baseball swept out of first round
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Decatur catcher Ben Thilo tags out Southeast Bulloch's Cole Mincey at home to deny the tying run in the fifth inning of Friday's first game. Decatur swept the doubleheader and knocked SEB out of the state playoffs.

    Southeast Bulloch’s baseball team didn’t face a “typical” No. 3 seed in the opening round of the GHSA baseball Class AAA state playoffs Friday afternoon.
    The Yellow Jackets, after grabbing the No. 2 seed in the state playoffs, faced a hot-hitting Decatur baseball team, losing in a double header 13-5 and 14-1 in Game 1 and Game 2, respectively.
    The Bulldogs, currently holding a 21-5 overall record, strung together 20-plus hits in two games to continue their season and move on to the next round of the state playoffs.
    “Decatur’s a good baseball team. They’ve got a couple of players especially that are really special players. They did a good job tonight. You have to tip your cap to them. They did the things you have to do in order to get a win,” said SEB baseball coach Brandon Peterson.
    For the Yellow Jackets (14-10), Matt Shumate, Garrett Kennedy and Klay Carter ended their careers as Southeast Bulloch baseball players. After Friday’s double header sweep, coach Peterson gave his seniors a hug and thanked them for their years of hard work and commitment to the program.
    Though the Yellow Jackets will miss the contributions of three quality seniors, Peterson said the future's still bright for SEB.
    “They’ve got a lot to be proud of throughout their careers. We’re very appreciative of them and we hope they learned some things through this and made them better men,” Peterson said. “The second part is, we have a lot of young guys. We had five or six different freshman play in varsity games this year, which is a lot.”
    In Game 1, SEB got off to a rocky start by giving up six runs in the first two innings.
    With ace pitcher Bryce Harnage on the mound for the Yellow Jackets to start Game 1, Southeast Bulloch still had a chance to muster a rally.
    Down 6-1 in the bottom of the fourth, Zach Owen started the inning with a leadoff walk followed by a Joe Ham single. Tyler Thornton laid down a bunt just past the pitcher to load the bases. A hit batter and an RBI walk from Cole Mincey cut the Bulldogs’ lead to 6-3.
    Harnage would also be hit by a pitch with the bases loaded to add a run. Shumate drove an RBI single into right field, but Mincey would be thrown out at the plate after a run scored.
    The Yellow Jackets’ four run rally would be as close as SEB would get. In the next inning Decatur drove in six runs on the way to a win.
    Perhaps the biggest blow of the game for SEB came towards the final inning. On a ground ball to first base, Shumate collided with another player and was ejected from the game. Along with his skills at the plate, Shumate was the scheduled starter for Game 2.
    “The umpire ejected [Shumate] out of the game. He said [Shumate] was too far in on the base path and thought it was malicious. I don’t know if it was or wasn’t, but the umpire made the call,” Peterson said after the game. “That’s his job and that was unfortunate for us. It made things difficult. We had to shuffle some things around and do some things we hadn’t done. We also missed his stick in the four hole, but we had guys in there. We had our opportunities.”