The Statesboro Blue Devil baseball team won an important region matchup Thursday against Coffee County. The Blue Devils jumped out to an early lead and then rode the pitching of senior Dylan Gronefeld who allowed only one earned run while striking out eight in a 4-2 victory at Mill Creek Park.
“The things we did well tonight is pitched and played defense and got key hits when we needed them,” said SHS coach Chris Bishop. “The other thing we did was every time they scored, we immediately answered which didn’t allow them any momentum.”
The Blue Devils came into the game on a three-game losing streak and got off to a good start as sophomore Bruce Yawn hit a solo homer to left for a 1-0 lead. Gronefeld worked his way out of a couple of jams in the first few innings. The Trojans actually had three hits in the second, but were unable to score a run. With 2-on Gronefeld snagged a bunt attempt and threw to second for a double play.
Coffee tied things in the top of the fourth on a bloop RBI single to right by Carter McMillan to make it 1-1. The Blue Devils quickly responded in the bottom of the inning with a pair of runs. Landon Johnson hit an RBI single to right, and Avery Newton followed that with an RBI single to right himself for a 3-1 Statesboro lead.
The Trojans got to within a run in the sixth with an RBI single from McMillan, but once again the Blue Devils had the answer. Aubrey Smith ripped an RBI single to center to extend the Blue Devil lead to 4-2.
Bruce Yawn came in to relive Gronefeld in the seventh and was able to hold Coffee hitless in notching the save.
Aubrey Smith led the way at the plate, going 2-2 with an RBI. The sixth through nine hitters for Statesboro combined for five hits and three RBIs.
“The bottom of our lineup played outstanding tonight,” said Bishop. “They put the ball in play and came up with some big hits and brought in some runs tonight. That is a team effort and we are going to need those guys to continue to step up for us.”
Statesboro would go on to take the series from Coffee as they won 10-3 on the road to improve to 9-6-1 overall and 3-3 in region play. Up next Statesboro hosts Bradwell Tuesday at 6:00.