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SEB nips ECI
Jackets pen shuts door
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    BROOKLET — Four Southeast Bulloch pitchers combined for 13 strikeouts and allowed only two earned runs as the Yellow Jackets (10-8) edged the Emanuel County Institute Bulldogs 5-4 after trailing for most of the Wednesday night game.
    Runs were hard to come by for both teams as SEB and ECI combined for only six hits and relied on aggressive running between the bases to manufacture offense.
    The Bulldogs got on the board first when second baseman Josh Bedgood reached on a fielding error and pulled into second with a stolen base. Emanuel cleanup hitter Lance Simmons then crushed a 1-0 pitch to the gap in left-center field that drove in Bedgood. Simmons was able to cross the plate when — as he was attempting to steal third — SEB third baseman Dustin Stall could not control the off-target throw from his catcher and Simmons took home.
    Emanuel added another score in the second when Ches Chester — who reached on a fielder’s choice — was driven in after left fielder Dexter Moody ripped a grounder down the third-base chalk that gave ECI a 3-0 lead.
    The Yellow Jackets started chipping away at the ECI lead in the bottom of the second when they had runners on the corners and two down. Morris Turner stole second, and on the throw, Dustin Stall took off for home. The throw went over ECI catcher Anson Walden’s head allowing Stall to score and Turner to advance to third. Turner would score on a Justin Daniels RBI sacrifice fly to left and bring SEB to within one run.
    The teams would each add a run in the fourth inning and Jacket starter David McCarthy was pulled after striking out five over four innings and allowing two earned runs on four hits.
    Matt Conner replaced McCarthy in the fifth and struck out the side while walking two.
    “I told (Conner),” said SEB coach Stephen Hoyle, “that I would only give him 25 pitches. He did the job in 20.”
    Southeast Bulloch got the two runs they needed in the bottom of the fifth. With Chester in to pitch for the Bulldogs, the Yellow Jackets looked to more aggressive base running to get the job done. Two walks and a sacrifice bunt had runners on second and third and one out for Cory Ward, who slapped the first pitch to left center and evened the score at four while advancing to second on the throw home. A McCarthy sacrifice fly gave SEB the lead they needed.
    “That’s the kind of ball that we play at Southeast Bulloch,” said Hoyle. “Hard nose — just gutting it out. They are all tough kids. They battled all the way through the end. It was a tough ballgame. These kind of games will help us if we make the playoffs.”
    Two different pitchers closed out the game for Southeast Bulloch. Joseph Wilson came in to open the sixth inning. He faced four batters on the night — one reached on an error and the other three struck out swinging. Lefty closer Scotty Beegle came in to finish off the Bulldogs. McCarthy, Wilson and Beegle combined for three innings of relief in which they allowed no runs, one hit, one walk and struck out eight.
    The Yellow Jackets (4-5, Region 3-AA)  return to region play Friday when they travel to Josey, one of four remaining region contests on the SEB schedule.

    Matt Yogus can be reached at (912) 489-9404.