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Softball Devils fall in extras

SHS drops heartbreaker

    Brittany Raines pitched a complete game and struck out six, Kittrella Mikell went 1-for-4 at the plate and Tiffany Lee made a running catch to rob a hit Tuesday night, but it wasn’t enough for the three Statesboro seniors as SHS lost a heartbreaker 4-3 in extra innings to visiting Lakeside.
    Lakeside took the lead for good in the top of the eighth when Kaitlin Hill began the inning on second in accordance with the International Tiebreaker Rule. She was moved to third on a bunt by Caroline Stanley, then scored on Amanda Clark’s fielder’s choice. Clark scored the eventual game winner on a wild pitch with the bases loaded.
    “We’ve played real competitively the past few weeks,” said SHS coach Karry Parker. “We’ve lost a few one-run ball games. We’re doing every thing right to get to the region tournament, we just have to make sure we stick to the game plan. We’re definitely peaking if we’re going to peak at the right time.”
    The Lady Devils jumped on Lakeside in the bottom of the first with a two-out rally on what became a windy, misty night at Mill Creek.
    Whitney Lucas singled past third, Raines walked and Abby Watkins beat out and infield single to shortstop to load the bases. Catcher Erin Hice then smoked a single up the middle to score Lucas and courtesy runner NoraA Billups, giving SHS a 2-0 lead.
    The Lady Panthers got a run back in the top of the third with a fielder’s choice and another in the fourth after three straight Statesboro errors. Despite the defensive breakdown in the fourth, the Blue Devils stranded seven LHS runners in the game, including five from third base.
    Statesboro got a run back in the bottom of the eighth when Meghan Cassedy advanced on a fielder’s choice and then scored on a throwing error, but the SHS rally and Senior Night ended there.    
    After the game, Parker reflected on her three seniors.
    “(Raines) is a four-year starting pitcher and has not pitched better than what she is pitching right now,” she said. “She is definitely doing exactly what we expect of her as a senior. Without her we wouldn’t be as competitive as we’ve been. (Mikell) has started varsity for us for the past four seasons and she loves to get dirty. She’s a gritty, competitive player and very smart. And (Lee), is by far our best base runner — our go-to girl on the bases.”
    The Statesboro seniors were presented with flowers before the game and treated to a post-game feast afterwards.
    The Blue Devils will begin Region 3-AAAA Tournament play on Saturday at 11 a.m. at the North Glynn Recreational Park  in Brunswick against a yet-to-be-determined opponent.
    
    Chad Bishop can be reached at (912) 489-9408.

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