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Diamond Devils start season today

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    Statesboro’s first pitch of the 2008 baseball season is today when the Diamond Devils host South Effingham at 5:30 p.m. at Mill Creek.
    SHS will be looking to make a run back to the state tournament, a goal which they fell just short of last season. The Blue Devils biggest concern in ‘07 was offense. Head coach Chris Bishop hopes a year for his ball club to grow will help right last seasons scoring woes.
    “(The offense) is a concern,” he said. “But the kids have gotten stronger and bigger and faster, so we’ll just have to see.”
    Zach Taylor (outfield), Scott Sarratt (catcher) and Josh Ware (shortstop) will be looked upon to carry much of the load. Taylor missed most of 2007 due to injury but is fully recovered coming into today.
    Tony Hill will take the ball for SHS on the mound today. Bishop expects to throw Hill for two innings followed by Crawford Simmons.
    “(Hill and Simmons) are really 1-A and 1-B,” said Bishop. “There’s not really a number one is just a matter of choice on who we go with on any given day.”
    Hill is nursing a left hand injury which may keep him out of the batting order for a few at bats. Hill has already signed to play with Southern University in the fall.
    First baseman Luke Connell is hampered by a shoulder injury to start the year.
    The Mustangs of South Effingham were Region 3-AAA champions a year ago and a part of a brutal strecth of opening games for Statesboro. The Devils face Starr’s Mill, Luella, Gainesville, Lowndes County, Coffee County and Liberty County before the always tough Region 3-AAAA schedule starts. Statesboro also has a trip to Vidalia at the end of the year.
    “We just wan’t to be playing our best baseball when region play comes around,” Bishop said. “It’s definitely going to be a tough way to start the season.”
    Statesboro will once again play its home games at Mill Creek Park due to construction on the campus of SHS.

    Chad Bishop can be reached at (912) 489-9408.
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