The Statesboro Blue Devils got their sub-region slate off to a blazing start as they cruised to an 11-0 win over Liberty County in five innings Friday evening at Mill Creek Regional Park.
Statesboro (10-2, 1-0 Region 3-AAAA) had a four-game winning streak snapped against Thomson earlier in the week, but were on top of their game as its most important part of the schedule began.
“I thought we played a solid game,” SHS coach Jim Simmons said. “We made a couple of errors, but overall we were aggressive at the plate and got good pitching. That’s what we’re looking for each night.”
Jordan Finch was dominant on the mound for the Devils.
The junior right-hander tossed a complete game and allowed just two hits while striking out three.
While Panther batters were making consistent contact, it was never solid as just four balls left the infield all night.
“Jordan pitched very well,” Simmons said. “In five innings, I don’t know if he threw more than 50 pitches. It’s great to see him pitch well and it’s even better that his effort allows us to keep the rest of our arms fresh.”
Statesboro struck early as Jackson Ware, Blakely Brown and Connor Akins drew walks off of Liberty starter Curtis Michalowicz before Finch singled home a pair. The Devils continued to plug away as Mahlon Williams and Chris Reagin also notched RBI hits in the opening frame to build a 5-0 lead.
The Devils were shut out in the second frame, but scored two in the third inning and put things away in the fourth.
Brown led off the fourth inning with a double off Liberty reliever Jacari Roberts and came around to score after an error and a Finch single. Roberts and the Panthers defense lost control as two walks and two more errors led to four runs and the second inning in which Statesboro batted around.
“We really took advantage where we could,” Simmons said. “We didn’t chase much, but everyone was ready to take a cut when we saw pitches that we could put into play.”
Finch allowed a hit in the top of the fifth, but closed out the inning with ease as the run-rule went into effect.
Statesboro welcomes another sub-region opponent Tuesday as Wayne County comes to town.
Mike Anthony may be reached at (912) 489-9404.