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Effingham County grinds Coffee in sweep
Effingham County's Jerid Stokes gestures while celebrating in front of teammate Zach Wilson (5) during the third inning of Thursday's first game. He and Wilson scored on a ball hit by Perry Fulcher. Jordan Rahn (1) is behind Stokes. - photo by Mark Lastinger/staff

SPRINGFIELD -- The steady hand of comeback experience helped the Effingham County Rebels overcome a shaky start Thursday in the opening round of the Class AAAAAA playoffs.

The Rebels, who mounted several game-winning rallies during their 21-9 regular season dumped Coffee 5-4 in eight innings of the opener and then won 5-3 to sweep the best-of-three series.

It took extra work to win the opener as JR Lonon, who drew a two-out walk, scored on an outfield error on a ball hit by Jordan Rahn. Christian Campbell moved Lonon into scoring position with one of his team-leading four hits.

Jerid Stokes added two hits for the Rebels. He had one RBI, as did teammate Perry Fulcher.

Blake Vincent earned the pitching win, hurling the final 1 1/3 scoreless innings in relief of Ethan Johnson. Johnson worked 6 1/3 innings, allowing four runs (three earned) and seven hits. Johnson walked three and struck out three.

The Rebels moved in front in the second inning of the second game and never trailed. They scored three times in the fourth inning.

Rahn led Effingham County with two hits. 

Avery Elenbaas was the winning pitcher. He gave up one run on three hits in 3 2/3 innings.

Chrys Hawkins took over the mound in the fourth and allowed two runs (one earned).

See the May 2 edition of the Effingham Herald for more details.