Social Circle’s 2021 season came to an end in the Sweet 16 on Wednesday.
In Macon to face top-seeded ACE Charter in the second round of the Class A-Public state playoffs, the No. 3 seed Redskins sputtered late in a 10-3 defeat in Game 1 before falling behind early in a 13-3 loss in Game 2.
The first leg of the second-round doubleheader saw Social Circle waste little time jumping out in front. Mason Moore led the game off with a single, coming home to score three at-bats later on Logan Cross’ RBI knock. Mason Hill followed Cross with a run-scoring hit of his own — a double to center field — to push the lead out to 2-0.
Redskin ace Jason Ball took the mound with a small cushion and looked sharp early on, breezing through the first two innings and recording a pair of quick outs in the third. But that’s when the Gryphons showed their first sign of life.
Following a pair of walks, ACE Charter’s Chandler Mitchell laced an RBI single to left field to put his team on the board. Teammates Zane Johnson and Fisher Timms then came to the plate and kept the line moving with back-to-back RBI singles, giving ACE Charter its first advantage of the day at 3-2.
The Gryphons continued to have success at the plate in the fourth inning, pushing across three more runs to open up a 6-2 lead.
Social Circle’s Mitchell McCullough trimmed his team’s deficit with an RBI double in the fifth, but the Redskins had no answer defensively as they went on to give up a pair of runs in the fifth and sixth innings, respectively, and suffer a seven-run loss.
Riding the high of their offensive awakening late in Game 1, ACE Charter put Game 2 away before it could begin. The Gryphons struck for three runs in the first inning, four more in the second and a pair in the third to build a seemingly insurmountable 9-3 lead. They would go on to cruise to a 13-3 win and advance to the Eight Eight.
Social Circle closed out its 2021 season 17-16 overall. Under the leadership of second-year head coach Kevin Dawkins — the club’s third head coach in four seasons — the Redskins sped up the rebuilding process by being a force in Region 8 A-Public despite fielding a roster with just one junior and one senior.
Awaiting top-seeded ACE Charter in the third round will be No. 2 seed Claxton, which swept Seminole County (10-3, 8-1) in the Sweet 16 to extend its season.