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Devils face Beckham, Bears in round two
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    Statesboro will try and continue its impressive run through postseason play, traveling to Griffin today for the second round of the GHSA Class AAAA playoffs.
    The Blue Devils (15-12) are 9-3 in their last 12 with five of those wins coming in the region and state playoffs.
    The road to a state title goes up a notch today, though, as SHS will face a team with one of the top prep prospects in the country — Tim Beckham.
    Beckham — the brother of Georgia Southern second baseman Jeremy Beckham — is the No. 1 rated high school senior by Baseball America and expected to be a Top 5 pick in this year’s Major League Baseball amateur draft.
    Beckham and the Bears (22-5) have won 15 of their last 16 and won the Region 4-AAAA championship. They average close to 10 runs a game.
    “Griffin’s a good ball club,” said SHS coach Chris Bishop after Friday night’s sweep of Bainbridge in round one. “They’re definitely a formidable opponent for our guys. But I firmly believe that Griffin’s probably saying the same thing about us.”
    The Devils wasted no time disposing of BHS this past weekend, run-ruling the Bearcats in both games by a total of 28-3. Tony Hill and Crawford Simmons did their respective jobs on the mound, while Zack Taylor, Luke Connell and Scott Sarratt cleaned up offensively. Simmons lowered his ERA to 0.40 while Sarratt took the team lead in RBIs with 26. Taylor is hitting .440 with four home runs.
    After a regular season filled with ups and downs, the Diamond Devils seem to be peeking at the right time.
    “We’ve just tried to work hard from day one,” said Bishop. “We’ve never lost sight of our goals no matter what has went on. And the seniors have been pretty good. They’ve been steadfast and resilient of what were trying to ask them to do.”
    Griffin and Statesboro will play a doubleheader starting today at 4 p.m. If either team fails to sweep, they’ll meet again on Thursday at a time to-be-determined.
    “We’ve played some outstanding teams to this point, and I don’t think that there’s one thing that (Griffin is) going to show us that we haven’t already seen before,” said Bishop.
    The winner will face either Heritage or Dalton. The Bears will be at home regardless the opponent, while SHS will return home only if Dalton prevails.

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