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Rebels, Scott thwart perfect game effort in a nailbiter
Effingham County pitcher Zach Dotson tries to keep a runner close at first base, one of the few baserunners of the night for either team, in the Rebels’1-0 win over Ware County. - photo by Photo by Pat Donahue

ECHS Edwards complete

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ECHS Ware complete

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Dylan Scott broke up Ted Thigpen’s perfect game in the seventh inning. His hit an inning later turned out to be even more decisive.

Scott ripped a bases-loaded, two-out line drive into right centerfield, scoring Spencer Jackson with the only run of the game in a 1-0 Effingham County thriller over Ware County on Friday night.

“It’s nice to come out on top of one of these,” Rebels coach Brett Griffin said. “We’ve lost our share of one-run games. We found a way to piece one together.”

It was the Rebels’ seventh one-run game of the season, including an earlier 4-3 loss to Ware  County in eight innings.

After Zach Dotson stranded a runner at third to end the top of the eighth, the Rebels started the rally with one out. Jackson beat out a chopper to second, a play close enough at first to elicit argument from the Gators for the Rebels’ first hit. A walk to Steven Proctor followed, and Marshall Edwards lined a pinch-hit single to right field to load the bases.

Thigpen fanned Justin Wilson, but Scott wasted little time in delivering his shot, a drive many of his teammates thought left the park for a grand slam.

“But the big hit was my boy Marshall Edwards,” Scott said.

Scott figured that this deep into the ballgame, a pitcher is bound to lose control of his breaking pitches, so he banked on getting a fastball. He deposited a Thigpen fastball into the gap.

The Rebels were limited to five baserunners.

“You want to sit down and be mad and be selfish,” Scott said. “But we’re not selfish.”

Said Griffin, “That’s part of the game. The kids did a good job of staying focused and not getting frustrated. We hit some balls right at people. We knew something was bound to fall.”

As well as Thigpen pitched, Dotson nearly matched him. The sophomore left-hander went the distance, striking out seven while allowing six hits and one walk.

“Both pitchers did a phenomenal job,” Griffin said. “Zach’s a good pitcher. He does things right on the mound.”

But as neither team managed to mount much of a threat against the other, that only served to put more importance on each pitch and at-bat. The Gators got a runner to second in the first and third, had a runner picked off and had another runner caught in a rundown.

“There’s a lot of pressure in these close games like this,” Scott said.

The win also secured a berth in the Region 3-AAAA playoffs for the Rebels (13-8), who finished their regular season at 4-4 in the region.

“It’s an awesome feeling to get to region,” Scott said. “All we had to do was do our business. It just took a little longer (tonight).”

Effingham will open the region playoffs at Lakeside-Evans, the No. 2 seed from the North subregion, on either Thursday or Friday.