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SEB faces Brantley in region playoffs

    BROOKLET — Southeast Bulloch gets the softball postseason underway this afternoon as the Lady Yellow Jackets host Brantley County in the first round of the Region 1-AAA playoffs.
    The teams will play a best-of-three series beginning today with a doubleheader slated to begin at 4 p.m. If the teams split, the decisive third game will be played Thursday in Brooklet at 5 p.m.
    Brantley County certainly isn’t a new sight to see for the Jackets. SEB defeated the Lady Herons in the third place game of the region tournament last season. Two years ago, when both schools were still in Class AA, the Jackets got the best of Brantley to advance during the state finals in Columbus.
    “We definitely know what we’re up against,” SEB coach Aimee Civalier said. “Brantley doesn’t always have strong pitching, but they’re a team that can hit and field very well. We’re going to have to brace for 14 tough innings (today) and maybe seven more on Thursday.”
    Tasked with stopping the hard-hitting Heron bats will be the Jackets’ freshmen duo of pitchers.
    Junior ace Sierra Peebles moved away from Brooklet just before the season, leaving SEB with no experienced arms. Freshmen Blair Chapman and Kayla Perkins have stepped up big, providing consistency and keeping the Jackets in plenty of close games.
    While both have been effective, neither is a power pitcher. Southeast’s four seniors — Lindsay Crosby, Cierra Clark, Leah McCarthy and Dallas McClellan — have been rock solid on defense throughout the season and will have to remain so in order to keep their final season going.
    “Our seniors are such a big part of this team,” Civalier said. “They set the tone for us on offense and defense. We’ll definitely need them against Brantley.”
    SEB’s lack of power on the mound holds true at the plate as only a couple of Jackets pose as a home run threat to opposing pitchers.
    But it’s the fundamentals and consistent execution that makes SEB such a tough out. The Jackets rarely throw the ball around on defense, but are proficient at causing trouble when they’re on the base paths. Freshman center fielder Emma Britt is one of the fastest players in the region and serves as a great table setter for the batting order from her leadoff spot.
    From there, the rest of the lineup does a good job of making contact against even the best pitchers and are always on the lookout to take an extra base.
    The Jackets’ youth showed through a bit during a rough stretch last week, but Civalier is confident that her squad will be ready to go today.

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