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Screven faces tall order at Pierce
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    The Screven County Gamecocks have a pretty tall order ahead of them this weekend. Not only does SCHS have to travel to Blackshear, Ga. to face the Region 2-AA champion Pierce County Bears, they’ll also be looking to replace their catcher.
    Garrett Bates, who was hitting .444 with an on-base percentage of .568, suffered ligament damage to his hand this week in practice, and is done for the season.
    “As we speak we’re searching for our best back-up solution,” said Screven coach Billy Pollock by phone on Thursday. “Who will best be able to handle our pitchers.”
    Despite the loss of Bates, Pollock said his team will take a relaxed approach into this weekend’s best-of-three series, which begins with a doubleheader today at 4 p.m.
    “We’re just going to play our game and if our game doesn’t carry us to where we need to go then we’ll back up and re-examine for next year,” said Pollock.
    The Bears have lost just four contests all year, posting 21 wins with an average margin of victory of 5.5 runs per game. Pollock feels that if the Gamecocks (15-10) can avoid walks and errors and keep a certain part of the PCHS lineup off base, they’ll have a shot.
    “Baseball’s a funny game and anything can happen,” he said. “More than exploiting them I’m worried about solidifying our game. The games we’ve lost this year have been off of walks and errors and that’s what we can’t afford to do. They’ve got four real good hitters and the rest are above average. We just have to keep the lower half of their order off base.”
    Any changes to the Screven lineup will be a gametime decision. Cameron Haydon and Jack Frankhouser will toe the rubber for SCHS, but Pollock said he’s not sure who will start which game. Haydon is 7-4 with a 4.63 ERA while Frankhouser is 5-4 with an ERA of 3.72.
    Tyler McBride leads the Gamecock offense, hitting .436 with 27 RBIs. Jeremy Rosier has driven in 30 while batting at a .406 clip.
    “This is the first time we’ve (been in the playoffs) since I think 2001 and we’re looking forward too it,” Pollock added. “Hopefully this will become a tradition. We get to play a week longer than a lot of other people.”

    Chad Bishop can be reached at (912) 489-9408.