Statesboro capped a stellar regular season on the baseball diamond, defeating Calvary Day by a score of 13-3 in six innings Monday night at Mill Creek Regional Park.
The Blue Devils (16-5) saw 10 consecutive batters reach safely during an eight-run fourth inning rally to blow the game wide open and an error by the Cavaliers in the bottom of the sixth allowed Michael Nortdoff to score the run that put the mercy rule into effect.
“I liked what I saw out there tonight,” SHS coach Jim Simmons said. “In many ways, it was a lot like our first game with Calvary this year. We got a big inning while our pitching and defense were able to prevent a big inning from happening to us.”
Statesboro honored its eight seniors playing their final regular season home game Monday night. All eight were in the starting lineup with senior Carter Harrison tossing the first inning for the Devils.
Two Calvary hits and a Statesboro error plated a pair of runs in the top of the first, but the Devils struck back in the bottom of the frame.
Jackson Ware singled to lead off the first and worked his way around to score on a wild pitch by Calvary starter Chris Draucker. Connor Akins and Hank Rushing each added an RBI single to stake Statesboro to a 3-2 lead.
Wil Stuart took the mound in the second for the Devils and allowed the Cavs to tie the game at 3-3, but induced a 6-4-3 double play to escape further danger.
Statesboro retook the lead in the bottom of the second as Colin Chance chased home Jacob Schofill with an RBI single to center.
Draucker retired the first two batters he faced in the bottom of the fourth, but Ware beat out a soft chopper to third to incite a rally.
Chance, Akins and Diquan Brunson all drew walks, with an RBI single by Blakely Brown sandwiched in the middle. Rushing dropped a two-run single into shallow right and the Devils then ripped off four consecutive one-run singles to make it a 12-3 ballgame.
“We swung it pretty well all night,” Simmons said. “We didn’t hit it as hard early on, but we kept getting good swings and found spots to put the ball.”
Austin Kleinlein threw scoreless innings in the fourth and fifth before giving way to Akins, who retired three of the four batters he faced in the sixth.
Statesboro now sets its sights on the Region 3-AAAA tournament, where they’ll face Hephzibah in the first round.
The best-of-three series was originally scheduled to begin Friday, but has been moved to Thursday due to forecasts for inclement weather. The winner of the series will clinch a spot in the Class AAAA state tournament and will play in next week’s region semifinal series.
Mike Anthony may be reached at (912) 489-9404.