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SEB falls in 10 to Bulldogs

    BROOKLET — Southeast Bulloch waged a furious rally to force extra innings  after trailing by four runs in the bottom of the seventh, but a five-run explosion from  Emanuel County Institute in the top of the 10th inning spurred the Bulldogs on to a 10-5  win Thursday evening.
    ECI (14-1) saw Zach Cowart race home on a wild pitch by Tyler Epps to put the
Bulldogs ahead 6-5 in the 10th. Two batters later, Barrett Bords smacked a three-run triple to the wall in right and Kaleb Griggs added an RBI single to complete the big inning.
    “I thought we played a good game,” SEB coach Brandon Peterson said. “We just ran up against another good team that played a little bit better. I don’t think we beat
ourselves. It was just a case of one good team doing a little more than the other.”
    With just two outs remaining in the regularly scheduled seven frames of action, an  ECI win seemed all but certain.
    Gunning for a complete game on the mound, Cowart recorded one out while  allowing two Yellow Jackets (9-6) to reach base.
    Keegan Carter hit a hard ground ball to shortstop that skidded through the legs of  Austin Zamora to plate two runners and bring SEB within 5-3. Zamora had a chance to  put the game away on the next pitch as Epps hit a double play ball, but a bad hop shot the  ball into shallow left field. Carter made it to third on the play and scored when Cowart
uncorked a wild pitch.
    Batting with two outs and with Epps on third, Drew Rushing hit a high chop over
the pitcher’s mound. Zamora played it cleanly, but Rushing beat the throw to tie the
    “We really battled against a good pitcher,” Peterson said. “We made a lot of good  contact early on. That kind of went away in the middle of the game, but it was good to see us still taking good cuts and not giving up in the seventh.”
 Carter had come on to pitch in the top of the seventh and breezed through three  innings of perfect work.
    T.J. Hackle relieved Cowart for ECI. Hackle worked the eighth without incident, but loaded the bases with Jackets in the ninth. Hackle fell behind Bryce Harnage in the count, but battled back to strike out the freshman and strand three runners.
    Rushing started the game for SEB and was solid, save for a few mistake pitches that helped the Bulldogs build their lead.
    Tied 1-1 in the fourth, Rhett Gay led off with a double. James Brown and Jared Downer followed with consecutive RBI singles and David Duiden knocked in Downer with a groundout. Griggs finished off the four-run rally with an RBI single to center.
    “Overall, I was pleased with how all three of our guys threw it,” Peterson said. “ECI got some hits, but they hit a lot of good pitches that we made. That’s just something that’s going to happen sometimes.”
    While the loss stings for the Jackets, more important matters are at hand.
    SEB jumps back into Region 1-AAA play with a game at Johnson in Savannah
this afternoon. A strong finish could have the Jackets contending for the regular season
region title.

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