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Blue Devils off to good start in region action

    Statesboro got its baseball season off to a good start, going 6-3 in non-region games to kick off the season.
    The Blue Devils took things to the next level Monday as they topped Bradwell Institute in both ends of a doubleheader at Mill Creek Regional Park to begion Region 3-AAAAA competition.
    Statesboro (8-3, 2-0) took the first game 12-9 before running away with a 19-2 run-rule victory in five innings to cap the sweep.
    Beginning with Monday's games and leading up until April 8, Statesboro will be in sub-region competition with a chance to set itself apart and vie for top seeding in the region playoffs.
    “We respect [the other teams], but we’re not scared of anybody,” Simmons said prior to Monday's games. “If we keep working hard, we hope to be competitive. I’m very pleased with the progress we’ve made and finishing 6-3 in non-region games.”
    Despite a winning record, Coach Simmons said there are still facets of the game his team needs to work on—starting with the defense.
    In the Blue Devils’ three losses, a lack of defense and timely hitting have been Statesboro’s downfall, Simmons said.
    Statesboro suffered back-to-back losses to Jeff Davis and Benedictine by a combined score of 16-5.
    “We’ve had a good chance to evaluate our players. Our three losses, we know where they came from,” Simmons said. “We know where the chinks in our armor came from. Hopefully it prepares us for sub-region play.”
    To start the year, Coach Simmons had his starting pitchers log in just a few innings of work. With the Blue Devils heading into the bulk of their region schedule, Simmons said his pitchers will be expected to go a little deeper into the game.
    In general, pitchers like Griffin Davis, Braxton Johns and Austin Kleinlein will be given a pitch count of 75 pitches. Simmons will also take into consideration “stressful” innings or innings in which a pitcher throws more than 25 pitches in an inning.
    Keeping the starting pitchers and bullpen fresh and working on baserunning decisions is something that could be useful for the Blue Devils down the stretch.
    “We have left a couple of runs out there on the table, but overall everything is running smooth. We haven’t had any big blunders. Some of our situational base running decisions need to pick up,” Simmons said. “Based on our non-region play, we found several lineups that will work for us.”