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Devils end drought
SHS secures spot in region playoffs
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    Statesboro broke a 2-2 tie with two runs in the fourth, then held on for a 6-3 win over the Academy of Richmond County Tuesday at Mill Creek.
    The win broke a three-game losing streak for the Blue Devils (4-12, 2-6 Region 3-AAAA) and ensured SHS a spot in the region playoffs at the end of the year.
    Statesboro coach Karry Parker was pleased with the win but told her team after the game she knows they can do better.    
    “We have played better,” she said. “We are happy with the win — but we have played better ball games. We played a good game against Greenbrier the other day, we played a good game against Lakeside, so I know that we’re are capable of playing better. We’re just not playing to Statesboro High-level every game.”
    The Devils, after surrendering two runs in the top of the first, came back with a single score in their half. Whitney Lucas singled to right, stole second then advanced to third on a wild pitch. Brittany Raines drove her home with a ground ball up the middle to cut the lead in half.
    Statesboro tied the game in the bottom of the second on a bizarre series of events. The Blue Devils struck out three straight times but reached on two of those due to passed balls. Abby Watkins scored from third on the third K to make it 2-2.
    SHS took the lead for good in the third after Lucas reached on an infield single and stole second. Watkins then reached on a bunt and stole second, putting runners at second and third for Erin Hice. Hice chopped a ball through the legs of the second baseman, giving the Devils a 4-2 lead.
    Statesboro scored singles runs in the fourth and the fifth to pad its lead and seal the win.
    “It felt great to get our second region win,” said infielder Kitrella Mikell. “We’re going to fix some things this weekend, get a little better, and hopefully come out for the region tournament and be better.”
    Mikell, who has dealt with a knee injury most of the year, feels the squad is improving and has a chance to gel at a time when it matters most.
    “We’re getting there,” said the senior. “We have really good talent, if we come to together we can do it.”
    The Blue Devils stole seven bases in the contest, taking advantage of ARC’s replacement catcher.
    Starting pitcher Brittany Raines struck out seven to earn the win.
    Statesboro will travel to Valdosta this weekend to take part in the fifth a nnual Vikette Invitational Softball Tournament at Lowndes County High. The Devils open play Friday at 6 p.m. against Georgia Military.