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Blue Devils look for strong finish

    With just one region series left in the season, the Statesboro Blue Devils are not out of the region 3-AAAAA playoffs by a long shot. Statesboro High School’s baseball team had a tough loss Tuesday in region play, losing to South Effingham 3-1, however SHS can still bounce back and finish the year strong.
    The loss against South Effingham marked the fourth-straight loss for the team and the second consecutive region series loss of the season. The Blue Devils have one more region game against South Effingham to close out the series, then the team will begin its region series finale against Richmond Hill.
    In order to make the region playoffs, SHS will need to finish fourth in the sub-region.
    “We feel good about our chances of being in the top four. We’re still very much in control,” said SHS head coach Jim Simmons.
    If the Blue Devils are able to win its first series in the region playoffs, the team will get an automatic bid to the state playoffs.
    Coach Simmons said he wants his team to focus on playing one game at a time instead of worrying about the region standings or playoffs.
    “Failure is so much a part of the game of baseball...if we can approach each game one pitch at a time that can help us be more successful,” Simmons said.

Switch it up
    As the regular season comes to a close, Simmons said he wants to give a slight tweak to the pitching staff’s philosophy. Simmons noted the good play of his pitchers lately, but mentioned he’d like to see his pitchers change things up a bit.
    “From a pitching standpoint, we’ve been doing a real good job so far of throwing first-pitch strikes,” Simmons said during a team practice Wednesday afternoon. “But I’d like to see us be less fastball dominate. I’d like to see us mix up our pitches to get first-pitch strikes.”

Playoff picture unclear
    Because of weather and changes in schedule, teams in the 3-AAAAA region still have a plenty of region games left to play late in the season.
    The Blue Devils are right in the mix with a 4-4 region record. Richmond Hill and South Effingham sit atop Statesboro’s sub-region standings, but with three games still left to play against Richmond Hill, the Blue Devils still have a chance to get a top-seed.
    “If we don’t win another region game, then it’s going to depend on Bradwell Institute on who finishes four and who finishes five,” Simmons said.

    Horace Holloman may be reached at (912) 489-9408.