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Blue Devils sneak by

    Tony Hill struck out the side, stranding the tying run at third in the top of the seventh inning to give Statesboro a 2-1 win over Evans Tuesday at Mill Creek.
    Evans third baseman Kevin Millward skied a fly ball into the left-field corner and ended up on third to lead off the seventh, forcing Hill to face the meat of the EHS lineup.
    “I knew that (Millward) was going to get on somehow, because he’s a great hitter,” said Hill. “But the triple didn’t get me discouraged. My teammates were motivating me while I was out there so I just went out there with full confidence trying to get the next guy out.”
    Hill got Jeff Rice looking on an 0-2 curve ball, struck out Brandon Dominy on a high fastball with the count 3-2 and finished off the Knights (8-3, 0-1) by sitting down Robbie Bryant on a 1-2 pitch in the dirt.
    Stranding Millward at third was the epitome of Evans’ problems all night as the Knights left 12 men on base. The Blue Devils (6-3, 1-0) won this one with defense.
    “When we swung the bat we swung it well,” said SHS coach Chris Bishop. “What I was dissatisfied with is that we swung at a lot of bad pitches. We had at least one strikeout per inning which isn’t good.”
    Evans pitcher Kyle Golden pitched a complete game, striking out seven and allowing just one earned run on five hits, and kept SHS hitters off-balance all night.
    Luckily for the SHS offense, Statesboro pitcher Crawford Simmons and the SHS defense kept the Devils in the ball game.
    Simmons surrendered seven hits over five innings, walked three and gave up a home run on 97 pitches.
    “Once again I struggled to throw strikes early,” said Simmons, a sophomore. “They put the ball in play when I threw my fastball for a strike and the defense made plays behind me.”
    Simmons got DH Kyle Caughman to hit into a 4-6-3 double play with the bases loaded and one out in the fifth. Despite giving up a home run to Bryant over the left-field wall in the fourth, Simmons never truly seemed like he was in trouble.
    Landry Jones, who saved a run in the first by snagging a screamer at third base and throwing out Millward at first, led off the second with a single for SHS. He then stole second and scored on a Trent Lewis line drive to left which the skipped under the glove of left fielder Brandon McCladdie. Lewis ended up at third but was stranded.
    The Devils, who had lost three of four coming in, got the game-winner in the third after two unfortunate plays for the Knights. Hill led off the inning by popping up to second, but Eric Voldness lost the ball and Hill reached safely.
    After Hill stole second, DH Zach Taylor hit a roller in the hole between second and first where Voldness made a sliding attempt to come up with the ball. Taylor legged out the hit and Hill, hustling all the way, came around to score the game-winner from second.
    “We can afford to have a quiet night with the bats sometimes because our defense is so solid,” said Hill.
    “We have a great pitching staff and as a team we’re going to get better on the offensive side.”
    The Blue Devils will continue region play on Friday when they travel to Lake Olmstead    Stadium in Augusta — home of the Augusta GreenJackets — to face Greenbrier.

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