The Effingham County Rebels ended their Region 3-AAAA schedule with a desperately-needed win.
Even though the outcome of the game was going to have little effect on the Rebels’ postseason seeding — they are locked into the No. 2 spot from the South subregion — the 4-0 win over Ware County on Friday night alleviated some of the pain from a three-game losing streak.
It also buoys the Rebels’ confidence going into the region tournament later this week.
‘It does a lot,” Effingham coach Brett Griffin said. “Waycross is a tough place to play baseball. It’s something to build on.”
The old baseball adage that momentum is tomorrow’s starting pitcher found new life Friday in Waycross. Rebels junior lefty Zach Dotson tossed seven shutout innings, striking out 12 while walking three and giving up three hits.
“He did a great job of throwing strikes and letting his stuff be his stuff,” Griffin said. “He could throw any pitch in any count.”
Effingham (11-8, 5-3) held a 1-0 lead going into the third inning, when they struck for three crucial runs. Garrett Arnsdorff singled with one out, and after Dylan Scott grounded out, Josh Moreland delivered a run-scoring single to make it 2-0.
Dotson and Justin Rogers walked, and D.J. Collins unloaded the big blow, a two-run, ground-rule double to make it 4-0.
Dotson made it stand up from there.
The Rebels’ rally chased Gators starter Jed Thigpen. Cecil Tanner, ranked the No. 44 prospect in the nation by Sports Illustrated’s takkle.com, threw four scoreless innings.
Effingham finished with four hits, but Griffin was encouraged by what he saw at the plate.
“We swung the bats really well,” he said. “It didn’t show up after the third inning, but we had some quality at-bats. I felt like we took a step forward.”
Effingham will travel to South Effingham on Tuesday and has postponed its makeup game with Liberty County indefinitely. The Rebels likely will host Lakeside-Evans, the No. 3 team in the North subregion, in the 3-AAAA playoffs.