By Donald Heath
Special for the Effingham Herald
GUYTON — A year ago, South Effingham’s baseball program was introduced to Region 2-AAAAAA rather rudely.
In its first series against Glynn Academy, the Mustangs lost all three games.
Then, Region 2 was introduced to SEHS resiliency.
The Mustangs, who had moved up from Class AAAAA, won 13 of their next 15 region games and claimed a region championship. They advanced to the Elite Eight in the state tournament and took highly regarded Pope to a deciding third game before falling.
SEHS got back up and started the 2022 season 7-1 with wins against Class AAAAAAA schools West Forsyth and Woodstock, a 27-win team in 2021 River Ridge and 23-win Savannah Country Day.
This week, the Mustangs get another swing against Glynn Academy.
South Effingham is set to open a three-game set against the Terrors in Brunswick on Monday. The second game is Wednesdayt at 6 in Guyton with the finale in Brunswick on Friday.
“It should be a very good high school series,” SEHS coach Todd Eubanks said. “You have two quality teams so we hope the community comes out. It will be a state playoff-like atmosphere.”
Glynn, which finished second in the region last season, is off to a 9-0 start.
“This series isn’t going to make or break us, but it would certainly be easier to meet our goal going forward of winning a region championship if we do well,” Eubanks said. “By no means do we want to go 0-3 and have to battle uphill again. We’re not going into the series feeling the pressure and thinking we have to play great. We just have to play like ourselves.”
Rebels top Metter, take on Houston County
Effingham County overpowered defending Class A Public champion Metter 10-0 on Feb. 28. Now the Rebels set their sights on the defending Class AAAAAA champ Houston County on Friday.
ECHS (2-6) will play a doubleheader with the Bears at 4:30 and 7 p.m.
The Rebels needed only five innings to mercy-rule Metter. Junior pitcher Griffin Howe struck out nine, walked one and allowed just two hits.
Trent Newberry hit a solo home run. Blake Hendrix had two hits and drove in three runs. J.D. Coleman and Matthew Ford each had two hits, and Howe helped his own cause with a two-run single.
Royal making a run at Division II title
Former Effingham County wrestling standout Isiah Royal, now a senior at Newberry College, is shooting for a second straight NCAA national championship.
Royal won three matches in the 149-pound weight class at the NCAA Super Region II in Pembroke, NC, recently to advance to the NCAA Division II Wrestling Championships in St. Louis on Friday and Saturday.
Royal, a five-time NCAA qualifier — he qualified in 2020 but the championships weren’t held because of COVID, won a national championship at 141 last year.
He won three high school state titles with Effingham County.
This year, Royal has an 8-0 record and is the No. 1-ranked 149-pounder in Division II, according to WrestleStat.