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Thompson shuts out SEB
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    SYLVANIA — The Southeast Bulloch Lady Yellow Jackets (7-4, 4-1 Region 3-AA) suffered their first region loss as Lady Gamecock pitcher Marla Thompson hurled a complete game, three-hit shutout and Screven County (6-4, 5-2 Region 3-AA) topped SEB 2-0 Monday night.
    Southeast pitcher Megan Barnwell looked overpowering throughout the first four innings. She was able to silence the bats of the Gamecocks by striking out eight of the first 13 batters she faced and allowed only one base runner on a first-inning walk.
    In that same span, the Jackets could not capitalize on their precious few opportunities to score.
    In the top of the second, SEB had two runners reach on fielding errors with two out, but Ciera Weaver was thrown out trying to advance to second to end the inning. In the third, a single and a stolen base put DeAnn Lewis on second with two outs, and a walk and a wild pitch put runners on the corners, but the rally was halted when third baseman Ashley Clifton lined out hard to deep right.
    “It felt like every time we had runners in scoring position, we’d come up with a big hit, but it would be right at somebody,” said Jacket coach Aimee Civalier. “We just didn’t get the clutch hit.”
    Screven got on the board in the bottom of the fifth when freshman Rochelle Schuman (2-for-3, RBI, run scored) lined a one-out double down the third-base line. She reached third on a wild pitch.
    Centerfielder Allison Steinhaus reached on a walk, and some heads-up base running landed her on second base. Shuman scored on Shay Patterson’s sacrifice bunt and gave the Gamecocks a 1-0 advantage. Barnwell got out of the inning by striking out the next two SCHS batters.
    A two-out, RBI single in the bottom of the sixth put the Gamecocks up by two.
    Tops in the region in strikeouts, Barnwell has been the Jacket’s leader for the past two seasons, but she has struggled against the Gamecocks. The first time she faced them, she threw a no-hitter, but since then she has dropped the last six contests against SCHS.
    “(Since) the first time (Barnwell) beat us, from that day on we have worked to (defend against her pitching style),” said Screven coach Billy Pollock. “In Southeast Bulloch’s case, you have to put the ball in play and run like crazy. That’s what we do. She still had her strikeouts, and she’s going to get a number of strikeouts, because she is a great pitcher.”
    Barnwell finished with 11 strikeouts on the night and allowed three hits. She walked two.
    Just a freshman, Thompson got the shutout with the aid of a stingy defense. She has pitched every inning for the Gamecocks this season.
    “(Thompson) showed real guts tonight,” said Pollock. “They hit the ball hard, but we played defense behind her, and thank goodness they hit everything right straight at us and we made the plays.”
    The Jackets have another tough region matchup when they take on Metter (8-5, 6-1) Thursday at 5 p.m. in Brooklet. The Lady Tigers are right at the top of the standings with SEB with only one region loss. Screven returns to the diamond when they hit the road to take on region foe Jefferson County today at 5 p.m.

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