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Blue Devils hosting home run derby

Statesboro High School is looking for anyone that can swing a big bat to participate in its home run derby this evening at Mill Creek Regional Park. Started by Jim Simmons after being named the Blue Devils’ head coach last May, the home run derby aims to bring past and present Blue Devils together while also providing an opportunity for other baseball fans to show what they’ve got. “This is something that we did back when I was with Effingham (County),” Simmons said. “We were able to turn that into a big, popular event every year. Last year was a good start for us here in Statesboro and hopefully we’ll have another great showing today.” The competition will begin at 6 p.m., but participants are welcome to warm up on the field beforehand. There is a fee of $20 per person to compete and prizes will be awarded to the top home run hitter for the SHS baseball team as well as the top non-player slugger. Simmons expects some quality competition, but is also looking forward to providing his players with a chance to wind down and have a good time after a long summer season. “We’ve been at this all through the spring and summer,” Simmons said. “Our kids have been hard at work since the end of school. These guys are out here putting in effort at 7:30 a.m. practices and playing doubleheaders in the heat. Hopefully, this will be a treat for them.” Tonight will give some of the Devils in attendance a chance to put an exclamation point on what has been a stellar summer season. Over 40 rising freshmen through rising seniors signed up for summer ball this season. In order to ensure everyone got an opportunity to play, Simmons split the group into three squads, all of which have impressed him. “A lot of talent has shown itself on the field this summer,” Simmons said. “We’ve had three good teams and some great coaching. Coaches Bradley Ward, Matt White and Russ Winter have done an outstanding job in leading these teams and helping us continue to grow.” With the summer season concluding at the end of the week, tonight is a chance to relax a bit. “It’s going to be fun,” Simmons said. “This is a way to give the kids a little break and a great way for people in the community to show our players some support. It should be fun for everyone.” Mike Anthony may be reached at (912) 489-9404.