BROOKLET — It may have been April 1, but Southeast Bulloch’s Bryce Harnage had no intentions of fooling around.
The Yellow Jackets’ freshman was all business Tuesday afternoon, allowing just two hits over six innings as SEB claimed a big 10-0 victory over Tattnall County in Region 1-AAA play.
Harnage was perfect in a win over Savannah two weeks ago and came up big again as the Jackets (9-5, 9-2) solidified their second-place spot in the region standings.
“Today was definitely a big one for us,” SEB coach Brandon Peterson said. “We’re at a point where every region game is big. We’re done with this one, so now we build up the next one.”
Harnage allowed a pair of hits in the first inning, but worked around them to keep the Battle Creek Warriors (11-6, 7-4) from denting the scoreboard. Harnage allowed just three more base runners the rest of the way as SEB swept the season series from Tattnall County by a combined score of 22-0.
Southeast Bulloch scored the only run it would need off of Tattnall starter Peyton Knight in the first inning as Drew Rushing plated Keegan Carter with a sacrifice fly.
With Harnage cruising, the Jackets extended their advantage in the third.
Tyler Epps legged out an infield hit and Ryan Adams walked behind him. Passed balls and a pair of errors allowed both to score as SEB built a 3-0 lead.
The Jackets blew the game open in the fifth.
With Reed Purcell on the mound for the Warriors, Epps notched another hit before Purcell walked the bases loaded.
Epps scored on a wild pitch while a walk and a hit batter brought Adams in.
With two outs in the inning, Klayton Carter put the game out of reach with a two-run single to left field.
“We took good approaches at bat tonight,” Peterson said. “We did a good job of being patient when we had to, and then we got some big hits like Klayton did to do damage when we could.”
Harnage walked Tattnall’s Nate Smith to lead off the sixth inning — the Warriors’ only base runner of the final two innings — but picked him off before retiring the next two batters.
SEB’s freshman lefty struck out just four, but kept the Warriors off-balance and guided his team to an easy win.
“Bryce had a lot of confidence and a good mentality,” Peterson said. “He hit his spots and was really effective.”
Harnage contributed to the offensive onslaught with an RBI grounder in the sixth inning. Weston Edenfield followed with an RBI groundout, and when the throw sailed into right field, Jake Whitaker came home with the Jackets’ tenth run to force an early ending to the game.
SEB now jumps out of region competition to take on Emanuel County Institute Thursday before diving back into the 1-AAA scrum for a road date with Johnson of Savannah Friday.
Mike Anthony may be reached at (912) 489-9404.