CANEY BAY — Brantley County’s season-best four-game winning streak ended with back-to-back home losses to Class 4A state-ranked Benedictine and Class 5A Wayne County. The Herons (6-12) wrapped up a brutal non-region schedule with 12 games against teams of higher classifications and three vs. teams in lower classess. All 12 losses this season are against teams from Class 4A up to Class 7A. Third-ranked Benedictine (17-2) stretched its winning streak to 13 games outslugging BCHS 11-8 Tuesdy, March 28 in an eight-inning non-region matchup. The Cadets entered having allowed only 20 runs in their previous 12 games and just five in the prior seven games with five shutouts. The win was the second of the year for BC over the Herons, who had their four-game winning streak snapped. Benedictine recorded a 10-4 victory February 26 in Brunswick at the “Baseball at the Beach” invitational. Visiting Wayne County scored a sixth inning run to break a 1-all tie in winning a fourth consecutive game Friday, April 1 match 2-1 to complete the season sweep. The Yellow Jackets escaped with a 9-8 victory in Jesup in the February 14 season opener over Brantley County. The Herons returned to Region 1-AAA Tuesday, April 5 traveling to Appling County, who is ranked ninth by MaxPreps. The series shifts to Caney Bay Thursday, April 7 and concludes Friday, April 8 in Baxley. No. 3 Benedictine 11 Herons 8 A one-out, bases loaded double in the top of the eighth inning broke an 8-all tie leading the Cadets to the win over Brantley County. Justin Thomas (3-for-4), a University of Georgia signee, got the rally started with a one-out walk off Nathan Willis (4.1 IP, 7 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 3 K, 6 BB, 1 WP), the second of three pitchers used by the Herons. A single and a walk followed loading the bases. Charles Pulaski’s ensuing two-run double gave the Cadets a 10-8 lead. They plated one more run on an infield hit. Brantley County struck for a first inning run on a Willis groundout. Brody Yeomans (2-for-5) ripped the first pitch he saw for a leadoff single to right. He moved to second on a groundout by Avery Saunds (2-for-5), advanced to third on a wild pitch, and scored on the Willis groundout. After stranding three runners in the first two innings against Cam Hickox (3.1 IP, 4 H, 5 R, 4 ER, 1 K, 3 BB, 1 WP), Benedictine scored twice in the third inning to grab a 2-1 lead. The Cadets played small ball scoring on consecutive sacrifice bunts. The Herons got the run back in the bottom of the inning on a two-out single by Saunds to tie the score at 2-apiece. Talyn Coger’s first-pitch grounder to start the inning was booted. Jarrett Rowell (1-for-3) followed with a sacrifice bunt with Yeomans’ groundout pushing Coger around to third. Saunds delivered a run-scoring single to center two pitches later. BC responded with a four-run fourth to take a 6-2 lead. Thomas greeted Willis ripping a one-out, bases clearing double that followed a single and consecutive walks loading the bases to chase Hickox. Thomas, who took third on the throw to the plate, stole home for the final run. Brantley County cut the lead to 6-3 in the bottom half of the inning on a one-out, solo homer to right field off the bat of Tripp Hendrix (1-for-4), his team-leading third roundtripper of the year. The Herons tied the game at 6-apiece one inning later scoring on a two-out, bases loaded balk and a two-run single by Austin Nipper (1-for-4) one pitch later. Rowell started the rally with a one-out single. Saunds kept the inning alive with a two-out single with Willis drawing a walk to load the bases. Rowell scored on the balk with Nipper capping the eight-pitch at bat with a single to left. Benedictine struck for two runs in the top of the sixth to open up an 8-6 advantage on a two-out, two-run home by Parker McCoy (2-for-4). BCHS responded in the bottom of the frame capitalizing on a pair of errors to score twice tying the score at 8-all. Aiden Adams’ (2-for-4) one-out single was followed by a walk to Coger. Adams scored when Rowell’s ensuing grounder was booted. Coger raced home when Saunds’ two-out grounder was misplayed. The Cadets had a runner thrown out at the plate for the final out of the seventh inning to keep the game tied. BC drew a pair of walks, the second coming with two outs. Yeomans fielded a single to center and fired the ball to Nipper who made the tag at the plate. Brantley County would also leave two runners on base in its half of the seventh. Kyle Wood kept the inning alive with a two-out walk with Adams following with a single to right before the final out was recorded. Wayne County 11 Herons 8 A two-out, run-scoring double in the top of the sixth inning gave visiting Wayne County a one-run advantage against the Herons. The Yellow Jackets’ Palmer Lamb drew a one-out walk in the sixth, moved up on a sacrifice bunt, and raced home on Luke Boykin’s (2-for-3) first-pitch double to left-center off Hendrix (6 IP, 7 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 7 K, 1 BB, 2 HBP) for the 2-1 advantage. Brantley County put the tying run on third in the bottom of the inning. Leadoff batter Willis was hit by a Hadley Long (2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 3 K, 0 BB, 1 HBP) offering. Willis stole second two pitches later moving to third on a groundout. Long fanned the next two batters to get out of the jam. The Herons put a runner on the bottom of the seventh getting a leadoff hit from Adams (1-for-3). Jones followed with two strikeouts and a groundout to finish the game. Hendrix survived a shakey first inning allowing consecutive hits to Boykin and Aden Hall (3-for-4) to start the game retiring the next three batters on flyouts. BCHS would strand two in the bottom of the frame against Gavin Mixon (5 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 8 K, 2 BB, 1 HBP). Yeomans (1-for-2) was hit by the first pitch he saw with Nipper drawing a two-out walk. The Yellow Jackets broke a scoreless tie in the third inning on a one-out, hit-and-run. Boykin was hit with a one-out pitch. The speedy leadoff batter scored from first on Hall’s hit down the rightfield line. Brantley County was unable to capitalize on Saunds’ two-out double in the bottom of the inning. Hendrix escaped a one-out, bases loaded situation in the fourth with back-to-back strikeouts. A one-out single by Taxon Dolan (1-for-4) was followed by Garrison Grantham getting hit by a pitch and Lamb reaching on an error. After Wayne County stranded a pair of runners in the top of the fifth, the Herons finally chased home a run in the bottom of the inning to even the score at 1-apiece. Rowell worked a two-out, 10-pitch walk after fouling off four consecutive 3-2 pitches from Mixon. Rowell’s theft of second was followed by a Yeomans’ run-scoring single to center.

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