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Griffin likes baseball Rebels' direction
Brett Griffin guided the Effingham County Rebels to a No. 2 finish in Region 3-AAAA this year. - photo by Photo by Pat Donahue

Brett Griffin would rather be on the road this week, heading to Leesburg. As it is, the Effingham County baseball coach likes the road his team and his program are on now.

The Rebels’ season ended Thursday night in a doubleheader loss to No. 4-ranked Woodward Academy in the first round of the Class AAAA state playoffs. After a rout in the opener, Brennan May’s homer in the bottom of the ninth inning in Game 2 sent the War Eagles into the second round with a 5-4 win.

Still, just getting into the state playoff was a tough enough battle for the Rebels, who finished third in a knockdown, drag-out Region 3-AAAA.

“I think we’re starting to head in the right direction,” Griffin said. “But we’ve got to get our summer program going. We have to have the kids doing the right things, and we are heading in the right direction.”

The Rebels are losing six seniors, including two key pitchers, most of the outfield and the left side of the infield, shortstop Spencer Jackson and third baseman Jaime Tyler. Also graduating are starting pitcher and outfielder Steven Proctor, pitcher/outfielder Corey Caldwell and outfielder Marshall Edwards, along with Quinton Nease.

Effingham will return left-hander Zach Dotson, who plays first base when he’s not pitching, center fielder Dylan Scott, catcher D.J. Collins, second baseman Justin Wilson and Josh Moreland, who subbed for Scott in the outfield and went the distance on the mound in the state playoff berth-clinching win over Evans.

The Rebels began and ended the season with a string of top-notch opponents. They faced Thomas County Central, Lee County, South Effingham and Camden County in the first three weeks. Three of them were region champs — Thomas County Central was second in its region, to Lee County.

They finished the year with Calvary, beating the defending Class A champs 17-7, took two of three from Lakeside-Evans, beat longtime power Evans and fell to reigning Class AAAA state champ Greenbrier 3-1 in the region title game.

Effingham also swept in-county rival South Effingham this season.