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Spartans best Gators, take region title
Bulloch Academy pitcher Taylor Burke gets ready to deliver to the plate in the top of the third. - photo by RAHN HUTCHESON/Special to the Herald

            Edmund Burke Academy seemingly could do no wrong Friday in the GISA Region 2-AA baseball championship at Gator Alley.

            Unfortunately, the same could not be said for Bulloch Academy.

            “Edmund Burke played well,” BA head coach Daryl Evans said of the Spartans after his squad’s 8-1 loss. “They are a very good team. They did the little things well. (Brandon) Sharpe threw great.”

            The EBA lefty recorded six strikeouts, walked four, scattered three hits and gave up one earned run through seven innings for the win. But Bulloch’s Taylor Burke also did a masterful job on the hill. BA’s senior lefty fanned 10 batters, walked two, hit one, gave up six hits and allowed two earned runs through 6 1/3 innings of work.

            The difference was a disastrous fifth inning in which Bulloch committed four errors to give up four unearned runs. For the game, the Gators had seven miscues, two base-running errors and an obstruction call.

            EBA (13-2 overall and 8-1 in region play) held a slim 3-1 lead going into the top of the fifth in the tight contest.

            BA third baseman Walker Blitch threw out lead-off batter Chandler Johnson to start the inning. Then the trouble began.

            Three straight errors scored two runners and put another at third. Back-to-back squeeze bunts worked to perfection to plate Spartans. Jon-Jon Evans stole two bases and scored on another BA error.

            By the time the bleeding had stopped, the Gators were down 7-1.

            Try as they might, the Gators (7-7, 6-3) could not retaliate.

            “We were playing for a region title and came up a little short,” said Evans. “But, we’ve come a long way in a couple of years; from playing Memorial Day School in a play-in game to even make the playoffs to playing for the region title.”

             Bulloch had upset the Spartans 11-5 earlier in the season in Waynesboro and was looking for the series sweep.

            EBA took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first on two hits and two BA errors.

            But Bulloch knotted the score when freshman Loy Waters walked, was bunted down to second by Burke and scored on Blitch’s double to right centerfield.

            The Spartans added runs in the second and third for the 3-1 lead.

            In the second, EBA used an Evans’ single and the first of three squeeze bunts on the afternoon to score. In the third, a Matt Usry single, a Michael Taylor walk, another BA error and an obstruction call allowed the Spartans’ third run to score.

            Bulloch can clinch a region runner-up trophy and a home playoff series with a win Monday in Augusta.

            “We play Curtis Baptist,” said Evans. “A win means that we would finish second in the region and host the first round of the playoffs, which is another step forward for the program.”