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SHS falls in baseball semifinals

    One night after a 1-1 pitcher’s duel was rained out in the fifth inning, a brand new game saw Statesboro’s bid for a region baseball championship come to an end.
    Starting from scratch after Tuesday’s rain-out, Wayne County scored three runs off of Statesboro (18-6) starter Colin Chance in the first inning and tacked on three more in the second on its way to a 7-5 victory Wednesday night at Mill Creek Regional Park.
    With the win, the Yellow Jackets (12-10) will play Cross Creek for the Region 3-AAAA title and a top seed in the state playoffs Friday.
    “It’s a little disappointing, but now we just have to keep going and bounce back,” SHS coach Jim Simmons said. “We had a rough start and couldn’t quite come back. It’s not what we wanted, but we just have to move forward.”
    Kasey Crawford led off the game by drawing a walk and came around to score on a double by Ben Hockensmith. Chance continued to struggle with his command and issued three walks in the first frame as the Jackets worked two more runners around the bases.
    Chance helped his own cause by singling in the bottom of the first and coming around to score before a Jordan Finch double drove in Blakely Brown to pull Statesboro within 3-2.
    Wayne quickly extended its lead, adding three more runs in the second inning before Chance was pulled from the mound.
    Statesboro battled back with runs in the fourth, sixth and seventh innings, but was never able to get the big hit to pull itself back into contention.
    “We really have no one to blame but ourselves,” Simmons said. “We had plenty of chances, but it turned into a bunch of ‘woulda, coulda, shoulda’.
    “We couldn’t get the win, but I’m proud of how we responded after falling behind early. I’m sure that everyone will come back tomorrow ready to move on and improve.”
    Statesboro will host South Effingham Friday in another one-game playoff to determine the third and fourth seeds moving on into state playoff competition.

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