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SEB takes long way into state playoffs
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Southeast Bulloch's Mary Grace Manahan makes contact against Appling County Tuesday. Manahan launched a grand slam as SEB stayed alive in the Region 1-AAA tournament and the Yellow Jackets will continue their quest for a region championship Thursday. - photo by SCOTT BRYANT/staff

    After a thrilling 8-4 come-from-behind victory over Toombs in the 1-AAA region playoffs Tuesday, the Lady Yellow Jackets had revenge on the mind against a tough Tattnall County team.
    In extra innings Tattnall defeated Southeast Bulloch 5-4 Sept. 10. But it would be a different outcome for the Lady Yellow Jackets in the region playoffs as SEB defeated Tattnall 6-0.
    Facing elimination from the tournament after a loss to Appling County, SEB was in a win-or-go-home situation.
    In the bottom of the fourth inning, Lauren Hardin got the rally started with an infield single. The Lady Yellow Jackets decided to play small ball with Ema Britt at the plate and one out. Britt bunted down the third base line and an errant throw to second allowed both Britt and Hardin to score.
    Up 2-0 with two outs, the Lady Yellow Jackets loaded the bases and cashed in on another fielding error at shortstop to score two runs. One batter later, Tattnall would commit yet another fielding error to give SEB a 6-0 lead.
    Six runs would be enough for the Lady Yellow Jackets to keep the season alive and advance to the state sectional playoffs.
    “I’m proud of them for how they hit and they really put the pressure on (Tattnall’s) defense. They made some errors, of course, and we took advantage of that,” said SEB head coach Aimee Civalier.
    Starting pitcher Madison Fields ran into trouble in the top of the sixth inning. The Warriors loaded the bases with one out. However, Fields would halt Tattnall’s attempt at a rally by striking out the next two batters.
    “Last time we played Tattnall we went to 10 innings and they won by one point. We played great that night and it feels great to come back and prove we could beat them,” Fields said. “I’m so excited to play for such a great team and I know my teammates always have my back.”
    Fields started on the mound in all three games the Lady Yellow Jackets played in Tuesday. Fields said it was tough, but mentally and physically she was able to handle it.
    “It’s really hard but I just have to treat every game like it’s our last. I just have to get after it knowing I can’t let my team down,” Fields said.
    With SEB’s win over Tattnall, the Lady Yellow Jackets are in the state sectionals and will play Thursday against Brantley County.
As clutch as they come
    If you look up clutch in the dictionary, chances are you would find a picture of Southeast Bulloch’s power hitter Mary Manahan.
    With the season on the line and the bases loaded in the fifth inning down 4-2, Manahan blasted a 3-1 count pitch over the left field wall to give the Lady Yellow Jackets the lead for good and keep the season alive.
    The two-out grand slam rejuvenated the team’s bats, which for the most part had been silenced for the day. The Lady Yellow Jackets held on for an 8-4 win over Toombs to advance to the next round of the 1-AAA softball region playoff, eventually defeating Tattnall 6-0.
    Coach Civalier said the homerun was just what the team needed.
    “I really feel like the hit that Mary (Manahan) had in the second game boosted our bats a little bit. Everyone just started relaxing at the plate. This game is so contagious and we have some good momentum going,” Civalier said.
    Manahan wasn’t done however in the RBI department. The SEB heavy hitter also showed her patience with an RBI walk with the bases loaded in the bottom of the sixth.
    Manahan, who had been in a three-game slump before the at bat, said she wasn’t trying to hit a homerun. She just wanted to put the ball in play.
    “I was so nervous,” admitted Manahan, laughing, after the game. “I wasn’t even trying to hit a homerun, I just wanted to get a base hit. I guess it just happened. It felt like a huge weight lifted off my shoulders. It was so good.”

 Too many errors

    The Lady Yellow Jackets had a tough start to the opening round of the 1-AAA softball region playoffs Tuesday morning.
    Southeast Bulloch, who had the best record in the sub-region at 13-3 in the regular season, hosted the tournament at Mill Creek.
    After a first-round bye in the tournament, the Lady Yellow Jackets faced Appling County, a team SEB beat early in the regular season 1-0.
    On Tuesday, SEB would score just one run again, however in a losing 3-1 effort.
    The Lady Yellow Jackets had three costly errors in the third inning to allow three runs to score. With two outs and runners on first and second, a missed pop fly on the third base line with two outs allowed the inning to continue.
    Two pitches later, a dropped pop up in front of home plate allowed a run to score.
“We were anxious at the plate and we just didn’t get key hits when we needed to. We made some defensive mistakes that kept the inning going,” Civalier said. “If you give them extra outs they have the opportunity to score. We just have to bounce back.”
    Luckily, the Lady Yellow Jackets bounced back just fine with wins over Toombs and Tattnall County to advance to the state sectional tournament

    Horace Holloman may be reached at (912) 489-9408.