By Donald Heath
Special for the Effingham Herald
GUYTON — The baseball seasons for South Effingham and Effingham County came to end in the second round of the Class AAAAAA State Baseball Championships.
The Mustangs (23-12) split a doubleheader with fifth-ranked Allatoona on May 3 — winning the opener 5-3 before losing the nightcap 7-1. SEHS dropped the deciding game of the best-of-three series 3-0 on May 4.
ECHS (16-18) struggled with fourth-ranked Pope, falling 17-2 and 15-1 in a doubleheader May 3.
In the Mustangs’ series, righthander Nick Milbrandt pitched 4 2/3 hitless innings and maintained an early lead to get the win.
SEHS trailed just 2-1 in the nightcap in the sixth inning before Allatoona pulled away and the Buccaneers kept their momentum the next day while scoring all three runs in the first inning.
“We competed well. It was two quality teams playing. Our kids have nothing to hang their heads about,” Mustangs coach Todd Eubanks said. “We won 50 games over the last two years so this group has a lot to be proud of.”
ECHS also made some positive strides in 2022 despite the rough day in Marietta. The Rebels, who failed to advance to the state tournament a year earlier, entered the final week of the regular season tied for first place in the Region 2-AAAAAA standings.
ECHS finished third overall in region play and went on the road to defeat North Atlanta in the first round of state. But the reward, if you want to call it that, was a rematch with Pope, a team that defeated the Rebels 18-4 and 8-4 in non-region games in February.
This time, the fourth-ranked Greyhounds raced out to a 5-0 lead in the first inning of the first game to take command.