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Big third innings give Devils doubleheader sweep
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    Whatever it is about the third inning, Statesboro is loving it.
    The Blue Devils swept a doubleheader Thursday night at J.I. Clements Stadium. Just as it was in Tuesday's 6-1 win over Liberty County — SHS scored six in the third — Thursday's third inning in both games proved to be the big frame for the SHS offense.
    In the opener against Blessed Trinity, the Devils trailed 1-0 before plating three in their half of the third and going on to win 7-1.
    Alex Brown led off with a single to left-center. Brandon Wilson sacrified him over, but pitcher Thomas Freeman and third baseman Court Kasten collided, allowing Wilson to reach.
    Josh Ware lined an 0-1 pitch off the shortstop's glove, loading the bases. Brown scored on a wild pitch, Tony Hill hit a hard single to right to score Wilson and Zack Taylor grounded to second to plate Ware.
    The three runs was more than enough for starter Crawford Simmons, who once again dazzled in the win. The junior lefty stuck out 11 and allowed just two hits in the complete game effort.
    "The offense made it pretty easy," said Simmons. "When you put up runs like that it makes it a lot easier to pitch."
    Statesboro tacked on two more in the fifth. Hill reached on a bunt single, stole second, then scored on two wild pitches. Aaron Cone had an RBI groundout, scoring courtesy runner Marquis Corprew.
    In the sixth, Wilson tripled into the left field corner. Not to be outdone, Ware laced a 3-bagger of his own to right-center to put SHS up 6-1. Taylor brought home Ware with a deep fly to right to provide the final margin.
    The Titans (11-5), the 2006 Class AAA State Champions out of Roswell, dented the scoreboard in the second. Matt Lobacz blooped a single to center. After a Stephen Disaldi single, J.D Sabo flew to deep center to give BT its only run of the game.
    The only trouble Simmons had the rest of the way was when he got two outs.
    "I just had a hard time with two outs —  I don't know," he said, shaking his head.

Statesboro 8, Jenkins 3
    The nightcap was more of the same for Statesboro.
    After trailing early 1-0, the Devils jumped on the visitors from Savannah in — you guessed it — the third inning.
    Corprew slapped a single to right to start the rally. Little did he know he'd get two at-bats in the inning as SHS scored five times on six hits and two JHS errors.
    Hill dropped a ball down the right-field line to score Corprew, then was brought in on a Taylor double that just missed clearing the wall in right.
    Carlton Hendricks continued his hot hitting, nailing the first pitch he saw with the bases loaded to score Taylor and courtesy runner Aaron Cone.
    Wilson then planted a textbook bunt down the third base line with tow outs to score Hendricks and make it 5-1.
    With a big lead, starter Hill settled down after a shaky couple of innings to start the game. He struck out the side looking in the fourth, and retired the final 10-of-11 batters he faced. The senior righty, who will play for Southern University next year, was effectively wild. He walked five in five innings, throwing 45 balls in 98 pitches.
    Statesboro added a run in the fifth and two more in the sixth. Jenkins (6-9) rallied in its top of the sixth after Luke Connell came on in relief and loaded the bases. Freshman Trey Robinson minimized the damage by getting a pop up, fly out and strikeout to end the inning.
    Catcher Scott Sarratt was 3-for-7 on the day with an RBI and three singles for SHS.
    Statesboro resumes region play on Tuesday at Mill Creek, hosting the Academy of Richmond County at 6 p.m.

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