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Devils let one slip away in seventh
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    Luella scored six runs in the top of the seventh, blowing open a pitcher’s duel to beat Statesboro 7-1 Saturday afternoon at Mill Creek.
    The visiting Lions, from Locust Grove, Ga., scored six times on five hits and two SHS errors. The big blow was a pinch-hit home run by Austin McGonagill who took a 1-1 offering from Aaron Cone and blasted 370 feet over the left-center field wall to provide the final margin.
    But the story wasn’t the Lions’ last inning rally, but rather Statesboro’s inability to bring home base runners. The Devils (1-2) stranded 11 and left the bases loaded three times.
    “I just don’t know what to say really,” said Statesboro coach Chris Bishop. “We had the bases loaded three times. I don’t really know. We coach them a certain way and everything we failed at today we’ve worked on time and time again. But as a a coach we’re always going to back up and see what we can do to reevaluate and make things better. It’s early in the season. The more at-bats we get we’re going to get better. How much better I don’t know.”
    LHS (1-1) jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first after Trey Malone singled and stole second. Ulrich then blooped one to second which hit off of Alex Brown’s glove to score Malone.
    Statesboro countered in the first on a Tony Hill bases loaded walk to score Josh Ware.  A strikeout and grounder to first left the bases loaded.
    The Devils loaded the bases again in the fourth when Crawford Simmons beat out a dribbler to second. Carlton Hendrix sacrificed courtesy runner Marquis Corprew to second, then Brown and Brandon Wilson walked to load the bases. Luella starter Scott Groover struck out the next two batters to end the inning.
    Finally, in the bottom of the sixth, Hendrix walked to start the frame and was moved to second by Corprew. Ware walked, then both he and Hendrix moved up on Julius Gaines’ pick-off attempt which sailed into center.
    Zack Taylor was walked intentionally, by Gaines got a grounder back to the mound to escape any more trouble.
    Shaun Ulrich singled to deep short to start the seventh for Luella. Pinch hitter Jake Burgdorf then dropped down a bunt which catcher Scott Sarratt airmailed into center field to put runners on first and second.
    Kevan Dorsey then sliced an 0-1 pitch into left scoring two and making it 3-1. John Welborn followed that with a single to increase the lead to 4-1. Andrew Tumlin walked to set up McGonagill’s big blast.
    “We got some guys that can throw the baseball, we got some guys that can play defense, we got some guys that can swing it — I just don’t know what to say, really,” said Bishop.
    Simmons started for SHS and went five innings, striking out 10 and allowing just two hits. His run was unearned.
    The Blue Devils welcome Gainesville on Thursday at 6:30 p.m. at J.I. Clements Stadium

Starr’s Mill 5, Statesboro 4
    Statesboro dropped a 5-4 decision on Friday to Starr’s Mill at Effingham County High School.
    The Panthers loaded the bases with nobody out in the seventh and managed just one run to break a 4-4 tie. The Devils then stranded the game-tying run in bottom half.
    Simmons had two RBIs, Taylor went 2-for-3, Cone went 2-for-4 and Hill went 1-for-4 with two RBIs. Hill also took the loss on the mound.

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