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Blue Devils find win, improve to 3-21 overall
SHS baseball
The Statesboro baseball team rushes the field to celebrate its victory over South Effingham Thursday night. The Blue Devils enjoyed just their third win of the season. - photo by JOSH AUBREY/staff

Statesboro’s game Friday night against South Effingham went the way many of the Blue Devils’ games have gone this year. Except for the ending.

Statesboro opened up an early lead and then saw the Mustangs come back to tie it up. The Blue Devils then took another lead, and again the Mustangs came right back to tie it. The difference came in the bottom of the seventh, as J.D. Kaiser came through with a walk-off double, securing a 4-3 Statesboro victory.

“I’m super excited for the boys,” said Statesboro coach Jim Simmons. “I’m so happy to see that kind of look on their faces at the end of a game. With the way our season has gone it makes it even sweeter.”

With two out and no one on in the bottom of the seventh, Davis Wiggins hit a line drive single to center. Kaiser then stepped up and drove a pitch deep to the fence in right field. Wiggins scored easily and the Blue Devils had a rare celebration at Mill Creek Park in their first home victory of the season.

“We’ve competed this way all season, but things just haven’t turned out this way,” Simmons said. “The way they kept playing, even though it hasn’t turned out in their favor too much this year was great to see.”

“Bradley Gronefeld and Blake Stanford both hit the ball hard in the ninth, but South Effingham made nice plays,” Simmons said. “Then Davis comes through with a big hit, and J.D. drove it over that kid’s head in left. He had a big game.”

The Blue Devils started the scoring in the first. Wiggins led off with a single, stole second, and advanced to third on a ground out. Wright Rocket then brought Wiggins home on a single for a 1-0 lead. Braden Mock then made it 2-0 with an RBI single, that brought in Mikal Mascarello from third.

The Mustangs tied things up in the third. With runners on second and third Chase Warren came through with a two run single to tie the game at 2-2.

The Blue Devils were able to retake the lead in the bottom of the third. Wiggins led off with a walk, stole second, then advanced to third on a single by Kaiser. Jackson Proctor then doubled home Wiggins for a 3-2 Statesboro lead.

The Mustangs again wasted no time tying the game. In the top of the fourth Dylan Wallace came through with a double to right, scoring Grayson Spendiff, and tying the game at 3-3.

Statesboro got out of a few jams along the way as South Effingham left 11 runners on base. The biggest jam was in the top of the seventh.

Freshman Hunter Saussy came into the game in relief in the sixth inning and managed to get the final out. In the seventh he walked the first two batters, but then was able to strike out Jacob Valleroy for the first out.

A double steal put runners on second and third. Wesley Ambrose then attempted a squeeze bunt, that was popped up, and caught by Kaiser who attempted to double off the runner from third. The ball hit the runner who retreated safely back to third. Spendiff then grounded out to short for the third out.

“Mikal Mascarello pitched a good game for us. We then went with Eddie Mitchell, who just didn’t seem to have it tonight. We called on the freshman Hunter Saussy, and he really worked his way out a jam nicely in getting the win in his first varsity outing.”

Statesboro improves to 3-21 overall and 2-7 in region play. Up next, the Blue Devils host New Hampstead Monday at 6 p.m.