The words came hard for Brett Griffin after Friday night’s loss.
The Wayne County Yellow Jackets broke a sixth-inning tie with three unearned runs and beat the Effingham County Rebels 6-2.
“We’ve got to figure out what’s wrong, and it’s more than throwing strikes and hitting the baseball,” Griffin said.
“We’ve got to find a way to win, and right now, we don’t know how to win.”
With the game tied 2-2 in the sixth, the Yellow Jackets had a runner on third and two outs. Zack Dubberly hit a bouncer between first and second base that Justin Wilson grabbed easily. He spun and threw to first, but his throw pulled first baseman Jonathan Rotureau off the bag.
Dubberly was safe, and Brendan Herrin scored the tie-breaking and eventual game-winning run.
“That was tough,” Griffin said of the play.
It got worse for the Rebels (10-7, 4-2 Region 3-AAAA) on the very next pitch. Tyler Palmer hit his second home run of the game, a line shot to left centerfield off Zach Dotson, that put the Jackets in front 5-2.
Wayne County added another run in the seventh. Hunter Thompson reached when shortstop Garrett Arnsdorff’s throw pulled Rotureau off the bag. He advanced on a groundout and scored following two wild pitches.
Reliever Adam Pruitt shut down the Rebels in the bottom of the seventh, getting Arnsdorff and Dylan Scott looking and inducing a game-ending groundout from Josh Moreland.
Palmer’s first home run, a one-out solo shot in the second, gave the Yellow Jackets (10-5, 6-1 Region 3-AAAA) a 2-0 lead.
The Rebels broke through in the third off Yellow Jackets starter Vince Jern. Moreland struck out swinging with one
out, but the ball got away from Dubberly behind the plate. Zach Dotson doubled to right, putting runners on second and third, and Moreland scored on Justin Rogers’ grounder to short that became a throwing error by Palmer.
Herrin smothered Daniel Farmer’s smash to third, stepping on the base for an out, but his throw to first also short-hopped first baseman Drew Griffis. Jern got out of the jam by getting Rotureau to groundout to short.
The Rebels drew even in the fifth. Scott drew a leadoff walk and stole second. One batter later, Dotson laced a run-scoring single to left, though he was cut down at third trying to advance after the throw home eluded Dubberly.
Herrin started the fateful rally in the sixth with a sharp single to left. After Griffis flew out to right, he went to second on a topper back to Dotson and took on a wild pitch.
Dotson went the distance, allowing five hits while striking out seven. He retired 10 Jackets in a row before Herrin’s leadoff single in the sixth.
Jern yielded three hits and fanned seven. He walked four.
The victory put Wayne County alone atop the Region 3-AAAA (South) standings. The Rebels have two subregion games, both on the road, but Griffin isn’t writing off winning the subregion yet.
“It’ll come down to the last day,” he said.
Saturday’s game against Liberty County was rained out. It will be made up April 23.