George County and Gulfport fans packed the Joe Sam Owen Baseball Complex Thursday night for game one of the Class 6A South State Championship series.
The fans witnessed an exciting down to the wire clash that the Rebels would pull out 2-1 in eight innings.
Both pitchers were throwing strikes. Blake Johnson of Gulfport would toss seven strikeouts in 7 1/3 innings and Rebels ace Logan Tanner would strikeout 14 Admiral batters.
Dylan Eubanks dropped a hit into right center field to lead off the top of the fifth inning. He used his speed and ended up at second base. Ethan Coleman followed with a single down the third base line and the hit drove home Eubanks with the games first run.
Bottom of the sixth, Gulfport's Mason Campbell singled into right field with a runner on second base. Rebels right fielder Trevor McDonald would make a perfect throw to home plate to tag out the runner and Campbell was thrown out attempting to reach second base for the third out in the inning.
Bottom of the seventh the ball got away from the George County catcher with Dylan Ladner on third base. Ladner took off and tied the game for the Admirals.
Top of the eighth inning the Rebels threatened with a runner on second base. Jarett Anders stepped up to the plate and unloaded a single into right center field and George County regained the lead 2-1.
Rebels ace Logan Tanner was simply outstanding. He would strikeout the Admirals batter for the final out of the game in the bottom of the eighth, one of 14 Ks on the night for the junior.
George County head coach Brandon Davis said, "Logan Tanner pitched his butt off tonight and had some great defensive plays. Hats off to Gulfport. They played hard. There's a reason they are defending South State champions and it's tough to win down here. I thought out guys battled through it and got the win."
Tanner said, "It feels good. We've got one more game and we've got to finish and get it done tomorrow."
Anders, who drove in the winning run said, "How can you not come out and perform in front of those fans. They travel well and they expect you to play well. Our teams pull together whenever it matters the most."
Game two is set for 7 p.m. Friday in Lucedale.
Vancleave defeated East Central 3 to 1 to take game one of the Class 5A South State finals. Game two is set for 7 p.m. Friday in Hurley.
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