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Lady Rebels claw to win, push series to three games
Jane Trzaska
Lady Rebels head coach Jane Trzaska and Shelby Aiken watch Wednesday's action from the dugout. - photo by Mark Lastinger/staff

SPRINGFIELD -- The Effingham County softball team split the first two games of a best-of-three set against Apalachee in the second round of the Class AAAAAA playoffs Wednesday. The Lady Rebels fell 4-1 in the opener but rebounded to win the nightcap 5-2.

The Rebels will host Apalachee again Wednesday at 5 p.m

Game 2 winning pitcher Rylee Mills hopes her team will ride the wave of momentum into next week's Elite 8 in Columbus.

“I feel like we have another confidence booster,” she said. “We should come out strong after this win.”. 

Effingham County's defense was stellar in both Wednesday games, especially the second one. Head Coach Jane Trzaska was pleased to see her players back up Mills so solidly.

“They want to make every play possible,” Trzaska said. “On the plays that looked like they were going to get in the gap, they tracked them down. That is huge and it’s huge for a pitcher.”

“It feels great because every time I turned around they were making a catch,” Mills said.

Mills has been stellar in her freshman campaign but she admitted to having butterflies in the win-or-go-home situation. Still, she maintained her composure and worked through her pitches with the upperclassmen in the back of her mind.

“I was really nervous because it could have been the last game for the seniors,” she said. “I was worried about not being able to play with them again.”

Jennie Edinger knocked in a run in the fourth inning and Caleigh Eubanks hit an RBI double to give the Lady Rebels a 4-1 advantage. 

Mills pitched seven innings and gave up 10 hits. Addie Reynolds belted two hits, as did Jaci Coleman and Eubanks.