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Lady Rebels lose subregion opener
team around duff new
The Lady Rebels huddle around pitcher Shelby Duff and offer encouragement in the 2-1 loss Tuesday. - photo by Photo by Jimmy Currier

Effingham County’s softball team was reminded of a familiar saying Tuesday, “all good things must come to an end.”

The Lady Rebels’ five-year long region regular season winning streak ended with a 2-1 home loss to an upstart Wayne County team.

Wayne County, who won the Region 3-AAAAA Invitational Tournament in Savannah last weekend, continued to prove that they are for real this season.

The eventual winning run came in the sixth inning with Brianna Collier drawing a bases loaded walk, scoring Cornelia Jacobs.

The next inning, Wayne pitcher junior Lauren Yourgan finished what she started and retired Effingham’s batters in order for the win and a complete game.

“It’s a big win for us tonight. Words can’t describe it. It’s an awesome feeling,” Wayne County coach Barbara Struckhoff, who is the only head coach the softball program has had in its 31 years of play, said. “The kids are gelling together and are united. They came through on the big plays, encouraged each other and sometimes that means more than anything.”

Effingham coach Tesh Pace said her team came out flat.

“We weren’t ready to play, plain and simple,” she said. “We weren’t ready yesterday to practice. We didn’t have a good practice and it showed tonight. We came out flat yesterday and how you practice is how you’re going to play.”

The Lady Rebels had a difficult time at the plate, only getting four hits and drawing no walks. Effingham missed two golden opportunities to score runs.

In the fourth inning with one out, Marie Fogle blasted a triple to center field, but the next two batters were unable to driver her in.

Then in the next inning, the Lady Rebels stranded runners on second and third.

“Wayne was ready to play and they didn’t give up,” Pace said. “They came out ready. They moved people over and we just couldn’t bring them around.”

Things looked promising early for Effingham as freshman Whitney Smith knocked in pitcher Shelby Duff from third in the first inning for the game’s first run.

Wayne scored its first run in the third inning with an RBI single to right field from Cornelia Jacobs.

Despite the loss, Duff baffled several of Wayne’s batters, allowing only one earned run in seven innings but issued four walks and had some bad luck.

In the sixth inning after allowing a leadoff hit to Jacobs, the bad luck started for Duff. Natalie Manning hit a dribbler that got stuck in the dirt a few feet in front of the foul line, allowing her to advance to first base.
The next batter, Yourgan, hit a routine groundball to shortstop Smith who threw to third. Kayla English couldn’t handle the throw, allowing the bases to be loaded with no outs. Duff, seemingly not wanting to give up a big hit to Collier, pitched to her cautiously but ended up walking her.

The Lady Rebels try to right the ship Friday in the Mill Creek Tournament in Statesboro.

On the bright side for Effingham, the JV Lady Rebels won, defeating Wayne County 9-8. Kendall Usher earned the win and went 2-for-4 at the plate. Emily Waltz went 3-for-4 and Kalen Martin went 2-for-4.

The JV team defeated Calvary Day School’s JV squad 16-0 Monday. Waltz pitched for the win and hit a home run.