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South rallies twice to take two wins from Lakeside
Neal Baker sliding
Mustang runner Neal Baker (No. 10) slides safely into second in the third inning while Lakeside shortstop Tyler Malloy (No. 23) reaches for a hurried throw after a wild pitch. The Mustangs won their season opener March 28, 3-2 in eight innings. (Mark Lastinger for the Effingham Herald.)

By Donald Heath

Special for the Effingham Herald


GUYTON – You never know what to make of comparative baseball scores.

South Effingham rallied twice to sweep a doubleheader from Lakeside – 3-2 in eight innings in the opener and 7-6 in the nightcap – on a long, but productive Thursday night at Tony Kirkland Field.

SEHS (11-7, 3-3 Region 2-6A) remained just one game behind region leaders Glynn Academy, Evans and Brunswick in the loss column.

“It wasn’t always pretty, but you’ll take a win, however it comes,” said Mustang coach Jesse Osborne shortly after the last out was recorded as 10 p.m. approached.

South might not have expected such a fight from the Panthers, who entered the three-game series with the fewest overall wins (3) and had scored the fewest overall runs (30) among seven region teams.

Lakeside was still smarting from the massacre of Glynn County, 0-6 combined against Glynn Academy and Brunswick while being outscored 68-6, during the opening three weeks of the region series.

But the Panthers took the first game of the three-game series with Mustangs, 12-5.

“That’s a good team over there, but they’re young. They’re going to be fine,” said Osborne, whose team has been ironing out some offensive woes as well.

SEHS’ 86 runs through 18 overall games only topped Lakeside in the region.

The Mustangs looked like they might squander a strong pitching outing from Dru Futch in Game 1 of Thursday’s doubleheader. Trailing 2-1 in the sixth inning, South failed to score with runners on second and third and no out.

In the seventh inning, the Mustangs etched out the tying run with some walks and an infield groundout and in the eighth inning, they scored the winning run when Futch drew a walk with the bases loaded.

In the second game, Lakeside plated five runs in the fourth inning to take a 6-2 lead.

But South answered with five in the bottom of the inning. Nick Cooper had a key run-scoring double to make it 6-3 and, two batters later, Ty Cantaline doubled into the right-field corner to score two more runs. Jake Waldhour tied the game with an infield out and Cohen Perry drove in the decisive run with a line drive single.

“We’ve been working through some things as a team and we could have lost our confidence then,” Osborne said. “But to see the kids battle was impressive. We made some things happen and seeing the guys legitimately earn it, I was proud of them.

Cantaline gave the team a shot in the arm with his arm. He pitched 3.1 scoreless innings in relief (striking out seven) to get the win.”

Now South takes on Brunswick for three games. Game 1 was Monday (March 25), Game 2 is today (Wednesday, March 27) in Guyton with the series finale in Brunswick on Friday.

The Pirates (11-7, 7-2) lost two of three games in a non-region series against Richmond Hill last week. South won two of three from the Wildcats earlier this season.

Not that you can make much from comparative scores.

Last year, the Mustangs won two of three from Brunswick.

“(Brunswick was) good last year. They were young. We’re expecting a tough series,” Osborne said.

Evans sweeps three-game set from ECHS

Effingham County couldn’t overcome slow starts during a three-game sweep by Evans last week.

The Rebels trailed 7-0 and 5-0 before scoring in Games 1 and 3 and falling 10-2 and 6-4 respectively.

ECHS never scored in a 12-0 pounding in Game 1, which was stopped in the fifth inning because of the mercy rule.

Will Floyd was a lone bright spot with two hits in Game 3 as the Rebels rallied for four runs in the fifth inning, but fell short.