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Ty Cantaline plays pivotal role in Mustangs’ sweep
Ty Cantaline
South Effingham senior Ty Cantaline (shown here pitching against Perry on Feb. 17) recorded a save and batted .375 last week to help the Mustangs sweep a three-game series from Effingham County. (Mark Lastinger for the Effingham Herald.)

By Donald Heath

Special for the Effingham Herald

SPRINGFIELD – For a year, Ty Cantaline and his South Effingham teammates held a baseball grudge against Effingham County.

Last season, the Mustangs were in a fight for the region championship. For the Rebels, fourth place and a state playoff berth were fading from sight.

But ECHS won two-of-three games in a rivalry series. In Game 3, the Rebels rallied from a three-run deficit in the seventh inning to win.

“That one hurt,” Cantaline said. “We definitely didn’t forget about it. Coming into this year, we wanted to get (them) back.”

Revenge is a great motivator for those who care.

This year, South swept the three-game set with ECHS, 3-2, 11-1 and 9-0 to clinch a berth in the upcoming Class 6A state tournament.

Cantaline, a senior, played a pivotal role. He pitched a scoreless inning in the opener to get a save in a game started by his brother, Lance,  a sophomore.

In Game 3, he went 2-for-2, drove in three runs and added four stolen bases.

For the series, Cantaline hit .375.

It was the Vitamin C, the Mustangs needed.

“He’s been a constant for us,” SEHS coach Jesse Osborne said. “Having his leadership and being a veteran, having been there and done that in key situations for three seasons, we appreciate it.”

Cantaline has seen a lot in the rollercoaster series with the Rebels. Zach Wert’s sixth-inning grand slam in Game 2 turned the 2022 series in the Mustangs’ favor.

Game 1 this season for SEHS had an eerie feel. The Mustangs, two games ahead of ECHS in the region standings, consistently had scoring chances but couldn’t add on to a 2-0 lead.

ECHS tied the game on Q King’s fifth-inning homer. The Rebels loaded the bases in the bottom of the seventh, but couldn’t punch in the winning run. Lance Cantaline pitched seven innings, allowing just four hits.

South won it in the eighth by taking advantage of a walk, a wild pitch and an error. Ty sealed the win, getting a double-play ball for the final two outs.

Osborne called it “A game for the Cantalines.”

“The series means a lot,” Ty Cantaline said. “We know all their guys and they know us. Coming in after (Lance) was cool. It was exciting.”

Maybe too exciting.

“When it came to Wednesday (Game 2), we were like ‘we’re not having that again,’ ” Cantaline said. “We were definitely ready.”

The Mustangs outscored the Rebels 20-1 the rest of the way and clinched a state playoff berth.

It’s the final year of baseball for Cantaline, who plans on attending the University of Georgia. He’ll leave SEHS with some great memories. He smacked a grand slam to lead a 6-5 win over Glynn Academy two weeks ago.

And he’ll leave hoping the wins over Effingham County can kick-start a long postseason run. South was eliminated in the first round of state by Tift County last season.

“Getting back to state was something we were all looking forward to the whole year,” Cantaline said. “We’ll be ready.”