On the heels of a thrilling 11-10 extra inning victory over Worth County, the Southeast Bulloch Yellow Jackets advanced to their first ever state quarterfinal appearance and will battle the Lovett Lions Wednesday in Brooklet.
“It was fun to watch a group of kids that played their hearts out refuse to lose,” said Southeast Bulloch coach Brandon Peterson. “That was such a special accomplishment, but everything we earned in that series starts over this week.”
The 1972 Yellow Jacket baseball team advanced all the way to the title game, where they fell to West Point in three games. In 1972, only the region champion went to the state playoffs, and there were only four South Georgia regions. This will be the Jackets first ever trip to the elite eight, which is something players and coaches are excited about.
“It is something we set as one of our goals prior to the season,” Peterson said. “I’m so proud they were able to achieve it, but we have new goals we are working toward now.”
The Jackets come in with momentum and know they are capable of coming from behind, something they did quite a few times in the regular season, as well as in this year’s playoffs.
“That is one of the things this team has done throughout the year, and we remind them of that,” Peterson said. “They just refuse to lose, and they fight for their teammates,”
Unlike many teams that get to the state quarterfinals the Yellow Jackets don’t have the one standout player in the field, at the plate or on the mound that can control the outcome of a game. Instead coach Peterson counts on a team effort and has been getting contributions from different players throughout the season.
“We have always been an us focused team, and try and focus on what we can do as a team,” Peterson said. “We have some talented kids, but it’s about how they each fit in together. That is why I feel we are successful.”
This week’s opponent is the Lovett Lions, who come in with a 22-9 overall record, and were 12-2 in Region-5 which included three other 20 game winning teams in Westminster, Pace Academy and Redan.
“There are eight teams left playing, and if you are still playing you are pretty good,” Peterson said. “They remind me a lot of us, as they don;t have that one standout player. They have several quality players, and a left hander I have heard a lot about.”
The Lions upset North Hall last week, winning the third and decisive game three in extra innings 5-4. By winning as the No. 2 seed the Lions allowed the Yellow Jackets a chance at one more home game.
“We lean on our crowd to help push us in these tight games” Peterson said. “When you are at home you sleep in your own beds, get to play on your own field, and see the stands full with your fans. As we continue to win I am seeing former players, former players parents, and the whole community getting behind us.”
Southeast Bulloch and Lovett will play a doubleheader starting Wednesday at 5 p.m. in Brooklet. If the two teams split a third and decisive game will take place Thursday at 4 p.m. in Brooklet.