It seems only appropriate that a playoff game between two teams with the same mascot should go end up in a split, and force a Game 3 on Tuesday. The Southeast Bulloch Yellow Jackets took Game 1 by a score of 8-3, while the Rockmart Yellow Jackets won Game 2 by a count of 2 to 1 forcing a third and decisive Game 3 Tuesday at 2:00.
The Yellow Jackets had their best offensive game of the postseason in the opener, and tied for their lowest run production in the nitecap.
“When you get to this level it’s not going to be easy,” said Southeast Bulloch Coach Amy Civalier. “I felt like we played well defensively, and Alana pitched great in both games. We got the hits to fall in the first game, and even though we hit the ball in the second game, it was right to them most of the time.”
In game one Southeast opened up a 3-0 lead, saw the visitors come back to make it 3-2, and then pulled away late winning 8-3.
Megan Lee started the scoring with a 2-run double off the fence in left for a 2-0 lead. A wild pitch with the bases loaded extended the Jacket lead to 3-0. The Rockmart Yellow Jackets came back to score two runs in the top of the fourth to cut the lead to 3-2.
Southeast Bulloch quickly answered by manufacturing a run on a double steal, and then Barnard came through with an RBI double down the line in left to make it 5-2.
Rockmart had their best chance to have a big inning in the top of the sixth with the bases loaded and no out, but could only score one run. Rockmart hit two hard fly balls with the bases loaded, but Gracie Burgin made the first catch in right, and then Lauren Erickson caught a ball a few steps from the fence in center to end the inning.
In the bottom of the sixth Barnard helped her own cause with an RBI triple down the line in right to make it 6-3. Makinley Fields then provided the finishing touch with a 2-run double down the line in left for the final of 8-3.
Barnard had seven strikeouts in the first game, and kept the Rockmart bats in check for most of the second game as well, but the Jacket bats were silenced by Rockmart pitcher Emilee Register, who also pitched the first game. Register allowed only three hits by Southeast Bulloch in the nitecap.
The Jackets had plenty of scoring opportunities, but the first inning is one they would look back at as the biggest chance wasted. Alana Barnard delivered an RBI single with the bases loaded to give the Jackets a 1-0 lead. The Jackets were unable to plate another run, and that would prove costly.
“I felt like we hit the ball hard, but most of the time we hit it right at someone,” said Civalier. “You have to congratulate Rockmart as they really played well defensively, especially in the second game.”
Rockmart quickly responded to Southeast Bulloch’s run. With runners on second and third, a wild pitch put them in scoring position. A fielder's choice by Maddie Owens then tied the game at 1-1.
The game remained tied until the third when Sam Wolfe broke the tie with an RBI single to right. The Jackets were able to strand two Rockmart runners in scoring position, but that run would prove to be the game winner.
“The good thing is we get this game at home Wednesday,” said Civalier. “We get to sleep in our beds, we get our regular routine. We just have to make sure we put what happened in the second game behind us, and be ready to come out tomorrow with a chance to go back to Columbus.”
Southeast Bulloch and Rockmart are set for a 2:00 Game 3 start Wednesday in Brooklet.