BROOKLET — The Southeast Bulloch softball team saw its season come to an end Wednesday evening after Cook High School came to town and and brought plenty of bats with them. The Lady Hornets scored wins of 12-0 and 11-3 to advance to the Class AAA Elite Eight while the Lady Yellow Jackets (19-9) will pack up shop for the fall.
While the Jackets had the homefield advantage and were sporting one of the state’s eight No. 1 seeds for the tournament, they knew that it would be tough sledding. SEB was well aware of the talent level of Cook (17-7), which shared a region with the Jackets just a few years ago.
And then there was the issue of pitching.
The Jackets’ back-to-back Region 3-AAA championships were earned largely on the efforts of senior pitcher Mackenzie Glisson. The SEB righty took the circle for every big game this season, but had also been battling a foot injury for the last month.
Glisson was determined not to spend the final games of her SEB career on the bench, managing to start the first game before coming in to relieve in the second game.
“She said that she wanted to go and I wasn’t going to stop her,” SEB coach Aimee Civalier said. “We didn’t want her to injure herself more, but we also didn’t want to stop her if she thought she could play. She’s been great for us and she’s fought hard for us.”
Unfortunately for Glisson and the Jackets, the girls from Cook had their offense dialed in.
The Hornets notched six extra base hits in the first two innings of the first game, capped by three-run home run off the bat of Brannon Allen to build a 6-0 lead.
Cook piled on more offense, but didn’t need it as Ansley Paulk surrendered only a two-out walk in the third inning en route to a no-hitter in the first game.
Emily Barnard led off the second game with a double and Paulk hit a batter in the first inning, but ultimately kept SEB off the scoreboard yet again.
A first inning RBI single by Cook’s Tayliah Carter and a two-run double by Paulk set the tone for the Hornets’ continued good fortunes. The Hornets added three more runs in the second inning and - after SEB finally found some offense with runs in the third and fourth - piled on five more in the fifth inning to put the run rule in effect.
“We just ran up against a really good team,” Civalier said. “We played hard, but Cook is a good team and they were the better team today.”
Glisson and Emily Barnard will graduate in the spring and leave two prominent holes in the Jackets’ 2018 roster, but SEB has been a mainstay in the state tournament and doesn’t intend to change the trend anytime soon.
“We lost five seniors last year and only had about six girls back this year,” Civalier said. “We’re going to miss Emily and ‘G’, but we have a lot of girls that will be ready to come back next year and hopefully do it again.”