Statesboro got off to a rough start in this week’s Blue Devil Diamond Days as it fell to Calvary in a lopsided 14-2, five-inning game Thursday night at Mill Creek Regional Park.
Just as they did in Monday’s season opening loss to Metter the Blue Devils (0-2) dug themselves a big early hole.
The Cavaliers (2-0) got to Statesboro starter Jarret Humphries for seven runs on five hits in the top of the first inning.
Humphries expounded on the damage by surrendering a pair of walks — including a bases-loaded free pass that scored Joey Lupus — and a balk that brought Ashly Morris in to score.
Hunter Newman made it 4-0 with a two-run single, a Blue Devil error allowed another run to cross, and both Chris Jones and Lupus notched RBI hits to make it 7-0 before Statesboro finally made it up to bat.
“We need to do a better job early in games,” said SHS coach Chris Bishop. “If our pitchers can get ahead in counts and get quick outs, things should get a little easier. We aren’t lacking effort, but we need to give ourselves a chance early in games.”
Unlike Monday’s opener that saw the Devils claw within 10-9 at the end of the game, Statesboro couldn’t keep Calvary from pulling away.
Daniel Payne added a two-run single for the Cavaliers in the second inning and a combination of four walks and three hits allowed Calvary to tack on five more in the top half of the third to extend the lead to 14-0.
“Calvary is a very good team,” said Bishop. “You can’t give a team like that too many chances or they’ll make you pay. That’s a team that can contend in any classification.”
Statesboro scored its only two runs in the bottom of the third when Haydon Rollins raced home from third on a wild pitch by Ryan Lawlor.
Calvary catcher Skylar Strickland overthrew Lawlor attempting to nail Rollins at the plate, allowing Kendrick Thompson – who had started the play on second base – to come all the way around to score.
Jones came in from right field to pitch the bottom of the fifth for Calvary and allowed just a walk as the Devils were unable to score and the mercy rule ended the ballgame.
Statesboro will have to shake off the cobwebs quickly as Class-AAAA power Lee County awaits the Devils in a noon matchup Saturday during the final round of Diamond Days games.
“Lee County is another team with a great baseball tradition,” said Bishop. “That’s where we’re trying to get to. We’re going to send Trey (Robinson) out there and we think he can keep us in the game. It’s a tough matchup, but those are the kind of games that we’re building to compete in.”
The Diamond Days continue this evening as Lee County takes on Effingham County at 6 p.m.
Mike Anthony can be reached at (912) 489-9404.