Seventh-ranked Pierce County had its 10-game winning streak end with a loss to Wayne County with a second setback following against visiting Southeast Bulloch.
PCHS (10-3) lost a 6-3 decision in Jesup Tuesday, March 16, to Wayne County (10-4). The Bears captured a 4-1 decision March 5 at home.
Visiting Southeast Bulloch (5-4) won its third consecutive game with a wild 11-10 win Friday, March 19, for a split in the season series. Pierce County won the first meeting 10-3 the previous Friday night in Brooklet.
The Bears open Region 1-AAA play this week with a three-game series against Appling County (4-7), losers of four straight. Game 1 was scheduled for Tuesday, March 23, at home with Game 2 set for Thursday, March 25, in Baxley at 6 p.m. The series finale is Friday, March 26, at home with a 6 p.m. first pitch.
Long County follows with games Tuesday, March 30, and Friday, April 2, in Ludowici. The Thursday, April 1, game will be played in Bearville. All three games have 6 p.m. starts.
Wayne County 6
No. 7 Bears 3
Back-to-back solo homers on consecutive pitches to start the home half of the fifth inning broke a 3-all tie lifting the Yellow Jackets past Pierce County.
The Bears had tied the score in the top of the frame on a double play groundout after loading the bases.
Jackson Denton (1-for-2) started the inning reaching on an error. Brandon Pittman followed with a walk after falling behind 0-2 in the count.
Davis Green (3-for-4) reached after dropping down a sacrifice bunt. Denton scored when Hoke Skipper hit into a 4-6-3 twin-killing.
Wayne County leadoff batter Luke Boykin (1-for-2) greeted reliever Brett Tuten (0 IP, 2 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 0 K, 1 BB) with a first-pitch homer to break the tie in the bottom of the fifth. Blake Brockington (1-for-3) belted Tuten’s next offering for a home run and a 5-3 lead.
After a walk to Zach Thomas (2-for-3) ended Tuten’s outing, Wayne County scratched out one more run before the inning ended. Jack Perkins was hit by a two-out pitch from Pittman (2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 K, 0 BB, 2 HBP) to keep the inning alive. An error followed allowing Thomas to score.
PCHS put five runners on over the final two innings. Wesley Nelson opened the sixth reaching on a dropped third strike. Back-to-back two-out walks to Jayden Crews and Denton loaded the bases before Thomas (2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 3 K, 3 BB) got the third out.
Green led off the seventh with an infield hit with Skipper following with a walk. Thomas got out of the jam with a strikeout and game-ending double play.
PCHS struck first with a run in the opening inning. Green lined a leadoff double of Tyler Denison (5 IP, 4 H, 3 R, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 K, 1 BB, 1 HBP), advanced to third on a ground out and scored on Knox Bennett’s grounder.
Wayne County followed with three runs in the bottom of the inning against Skipper (4 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 2 ER, 3 K, 4 BB) on a two-run triple by Thomas and Jacob Brewer’s ensuing run-scoring ground out.
The Bears cut the deficit to 3-2 in the top of the second. J. Reid Phillips (1-for-3) laced a one-out single with Crews getting hit three pitches later. Denton beat out a sacrifice bunt loading the bases. Pittman executed a squeeze bunt plating Phillips.
Southeast Bulloch 11
No. 7 Bears 10
A two-out throwing error on a theft of third allowed the go-ahead run to race home lifting the Yellow Jackets past Pierce County.
Tied at 10-apiece, a one-out walk came home to roost for SEB. Gage Minnick drew the free pass and stole second on a 2-2 pitch. He then stole third and raced home on the errant throw to the bag breaking the tie.
Tyson Harnage, who worked the last three innings for the Yellow Jackets, retired two of the three batters faced in the seventh on swinging strikeouts.
Southeast Bulloch struck for two runs in the first frame against Phillips (3 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 3 ER, 3 K, 2 BB), the first of five pitchers to toe the rubber for the Bears. The Yellow Jackets opened with three consecutive hits to start the game scoring on a double and single before the first out was recorded.
PCHS came right back scoring three times with each of the first four batters reaching. Green (1-for-5) lined a first-pitch single to center and Skipper (1-for-2) grounded a 1-0 pitch to right.
Bennett (2-for-3) dropped a first-pitch, sacrifice bunt down the third base line that was thrown away for a two-base error allowing Green to score. Nelson’s (2-for-4) ensuing single to center three pitches later scored both Skipper and Bennett for a 3-2 lead.
SEB scored a pair of runs in the third inning. Consecutive one-out walks were followed by an error on a high chopping infield hit allowing the lead runner to score. A suicide squeeze plated the second run for a 4-3 lead for the visitors.
Pierce County tied the game in the bottom of the inning on Nelson’s run-scoring hit. Skipper was hit by a one-out pitch with Bennett delivering an opposite field single on the ensuing pitch putting runners on the corners. Nelson stroked a first-pitch single to left scoring Skipper knotting the score at 4-apiece.
The Yellow Jackets pushed three runs across in the fourth against Denton (1 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 K, 2 BB) in taking a short-lived 7-4 lead. An error gave SEB a 5-4 lead with a sacrifice fly following and a two-out, bases loaded walk forcing home the final run.
PCHS responded with a six-run bottom half of the inning to build a 10-7 advantage. Phillips (1-for-3) reached to start the inning on an infield hit and raced to third on a double by Crews (1-for-4).
Denton’s ensuing sacrifice bunt turned into an error allowing Phillips to score. Pittman (2-for-4) followed with a run-scoring single to right cutting the deficit to 7-6.
After Green beat out a sacrifice bunt loading the bases, Skipper was plunked by a pitch forcing home the tying run. A passed ball scored Pittman with the go-ahead run.
Following an intentional walk to Bennett to re-load the bases, Green beat the throw home on an infield grounder by Nelson for a 9-7 lead. Drew Starling’s sacrifice fly to center scored Skipper with the final run of the inning.
Southeast Bulloch responded with three runs in the top of the fifth against Mason Woodcock (.1 IP, 2 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 0 K, 2 BB) to tie the game at 10-apiece. A one-out, run-scoring double was followed by a two-run single three pitches later bringing in Caden Williams (2 IP, 0 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 2 K, 1 BB).
Williams set down the first six batters he faced before the one-out walk in the seventh. Bennett sandwiched a pair of strikeouts around a hit batter to close out the inning.