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Lady Mustangs settle for No. 4 softball seed
Chloe Strickland
Lady Mustangs third baseman Chloe Strickland reaches into the Lady Yellow Jackets dugout in an attempt to catch a foul ball in Wednesday's first game. - photo by Mark Lastinger/staff
GUYTON -- The South Effingham softball team finished fourth in the Region 2-AAAAA softball tournament after dropping a doubleheader to Wayne County on Wednesday.

The Lady Mustangs held a 6-2 lead in the opener but gave up 13 unanswered runs in a 15-6 loss. In the second contest, it was much of the same offensively for Wayne County, which doused the Mustangs with 14 hits en route to an 11-3 win.

“The bottom line is you can’t win games when you have more errors than hits,” Lady Mustangs head coach Todd Eubanks said. “It’s a little disappointing because the girls played so hard last week. This week we didn’t do it.

"Anybody can have a bad day. It was an accumulation of many different things. These girls have been through a tough situation here at the end of the year. We have to have them battle and compete and finish what they started.”

South Effingham endured a head coaching change -- Samantha Tracy was relieved of her duties  and closed out the last week of the regular season with five losses.Eubanks wants to see his squad tighten up defensively before it gets into the postseason.

“They’ve given their best effort,” Eubanks SAID. “They’ve had some things go wrong and we didn’t bounce back and it steamrolled from there. The girls are trying hard. 

"Tonight was not a good showing because defensively we didn’t do very good.”

In the second contesT, Hailey Pinette put the Lady Mustangs on the board first with an RBI single but Wayne County belted five hits take a 5-1 advantage in the second.

 Chloe Strickland belted an RBI double in the third to trim South Effingham’s deficit to two but Wayne County continued its powerful run around the bases and capped the night with nine more runs.

“Softball is a sport you can learn a lot of things from,” Eubanks said. “It will make you stronger in life lessons. I appreciate them pushing through it because they could have easily put their hands up and say, 'We are done.'

"They are trying and competing.”

Despite the team's recent struggles, Eubanks likes what he has seen from his young pitching nucleus and is looking forward to preparing for the first round of the state playoffs.

“They got their strikes and they have to keep the ball in the zone,” Eubanks said. “We have to play good defense behind them. Hailey Maruca, she started tonight and here’s a girl who at the first of the year was probably going to be a backup JV pitcher and, because of things she has come through, she’s been our best pitcher over the last two weeks. She’s really competing.

" If these girls will take the lessons they are learning now it’s only going to make their future brighter.”

The Mustangs will be on the road next Wednesday and are likely to play Locust Grove.