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Strong starts propel Mustangs
04.08 hephzibah-sehs 2
Travis Wooten lets a high pitch go by in Friday’s win over Hephzibah. Wooten was 1-for-4 at the plate. - photo by Photo by Pat Donahue

The South Effingham Mustangs baseball team got two very good starts Friday night.

Matt Zettler threw seven shutout innings, and the offense posted a five-run first inning en route to a 7-0 victory over Hephzibah on Friday night.

Zettler struck out four and gave up six hits to the Rebels. He did not walk a batter and needed just 75 pitches.

“Seven strong innings and a minimal pitch count,” South Effingham coach Tony Kirkland surmised of Zettler’s performance.

The Mustangs also turned in solid defense behind Zettler. They ended the third inning with a line drive to shortstop Colby May that he turned into a double play, and Travis Wooten snared a sharp liner by Seddrick Dixon for a double play in the seventh, catching Josh Gregory too far off the bag.

At the plate, the Mustangs wasted little time in getting to Rebels starter Barry Hyman. Zach Anderson, Colby May and John Roberts led off with singles, with May’s base hit to center driving Anderson in with the first run. Chris Zittrouer singled to right, bringing in May, and an error allowed Roberts to score. Michael Miller delivered a two-out, two-run single to cap the inning.

Miller scampered home on a passed ball in the third, and Roberts’ sacrifice fly to right field in the sixth plated Anderson with the final run.

Anderson went 2-for-2 while Zittrouer finished 2-for-3 with two RBIs. The Mustangs finished with nine hits in their first game in a week.

Kirkland came away impressed with the Rebels, who fell to 3-11 overall and 0-4 in Region 3-AAA with the loss.

“That group has a lot of fun playing,” he said. “They shut us down for three or four innings to basically nothing. I don’t know that we felt threatened enough to kick in any motivation. We weren’t very disciplined at the plate.”

With the hole in the schedule, Kirkland planned for the Mustangs (11-4 overall, 4-0 in Region 3-AAA) to hold an intrasquad scrimmage Tuesday.

“We only had four pitches who managed to get up there and get some time in,” he said. “Mother Nature got us that day.”

The Mustangs are scheduled to host Blessed Trinity, the 2006 Class AAA state champs, Tuesday at 5:45 p.m. They will play at Liberty County on Wednesday.