For the Blue Devils of Statesboro, a rain delay couldn’t have come at a more inopportune time in a non-region contest Thursday afternoon against the Benedictine Cadets.
Tied at 1-1 in the top of the fifth inning with runners on second and third, sirens sounded alerting those in attendance at Mill Creek of possible lightning in the area.
After the 42-minute delay, defensive miscues caused the Blue Devils to give up five runs in the top half of the inning, eventually losing to the Cadets 10-3.
After the game, Statesboro head coach Jim Simmons said the delay wasn’t a big concern for his team, but rather their emotions towards a few plays that didn’t go the team’s way.
“I’m not real sure the delay had anything to do with it. We were in a tough spot before that. They had runners on with nobody out when the lightning detector went off. I felt like our energy was really good, but then we kind of melted down,” Simmons said. “We had several situations in our short game where we didn’t execute. The game is brutally honest to you and there’s a fine line between playing with emotion and playing emotional.”
Michael Finch, who pitched 4.1 innings with two strikeouts Thursday against the Cadets, left the game in the top of the fifth to give way to pitcher Dalton Ross. As Ross came on to pitch with runners in scoring position, sirens sounded. Ross, visible upset, walked off the mound.
“Dalton is a high-emotion guy. For the most part, he kept his head fairly well with some negative things going on around him. That’s the game,” Simmons said. “You’re going to have those kind of things and you’re going to have delays. You’re going to have to start and stop.”
The Blue Devils wouldn’t go down easy, however. Statesboro battled back in the bottom of the fifth inning, thanks to a two-run home run from Ty Tidick. Tidick finished the game with two RBIs and a walk. Bailey Brown drove in the Blue Devils other run in the first inning on a bases-loaded walk. Conner Akins had a solid day at the plate going 2-for-4 with four singles.
Unfortunately, the Blue Devils’ momentum would be short lived as the Cadets’ bats stayed hot, adding two additional runs in the sixth inning.
“You can’t play this game with your teeth clinched. You have to have a little bit of relaxation there,” Simmons said. “You have to stay calm, cool and collected. Benedictine is a quality baseball team and they put the bat on the ball in the right spot and we didn’t. Finch did a good job. Ty came up with the big hit, then we let a couple get away. In the drizzling rain, things get a little tighter.”
Despite Thursday’s loss to the Cadets, the Blue Devils (5-3) are having a quality start to the season. Statesboro has just one non-region game before the start of the region schedule.
The Blue Devils are set to play again Wednesday on the road against top-ranked Jeff Davis.