TIFTON — The Thomas County Central Yellow Jackets baseball team came to Tifton Tuesday night on an unofficial quest for the Region 1-AAAAA championship. So far in the 2008 season, the Class AAAA Yellow Jackets have all ready defeated Region 1-AAAAA members Tift, Coffee and Lowndes.

Tuesday’s rematch with the Tift County Blue Devils saw the Jackets come in ranked 8th in the latest state GACA Class AAAA poll. That ranking should remain as the Jackets left Tifton with a 7-3 victory.

Errors and missed opportunities at the plate proved to be Tift’s undoing.

“We did not play defense, and you have got to play defense to win,” said Tift County coach Chuck Beale.

Errors and wild pitches helped TCC jump out to an early 2-0 lead. Another unearned run in the top of the third, gave the Jackets a 3-0 lead.

Tift would then score twice in the bottom of the frame.

Rhett Hammond would get a single in that inning, while Ryan Casey was hit by a pitch. Both of those players would come in to score on a double by Tyce Moore.

That was as close as the Devils would get in the game as TCC would answer with three more runs in the fourth, and one in the fifth.

While the Jackets were figuring out ways to score runs, Tift squandered a big opportunity in the fourth. After Matthew Brunty opened the inning with a double, walks to Hammond and Casey were sandwiched around an out.

But even though three of the first four batters reached base, a runner was picked off, and Tift could not get a big hit.

The Devils did score one more run in the sixth when Sy Crumley’s fielder’s choice plated Hammond, who had reached on an error.

Nick Prostko made his first start of the year and gave up seven runs in 4 2/3 innings. He struck out four, and walked four.

Thomas Burtle finished up, and did not allow a run.

“Nick and Thomas did a good job,” said Beale.

Moore and Hammond each had two hits for the Devils.

Tift will be at Turner County today for a 6 p.m. contest.

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