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Devils hit the diamond
Statesboro dominates in season-opening win
021813 SHS BASEBALL 01
Statesboro High pitcher Tyler Brown hurls a strike against Richmond Hill in the top of the second inning Monday.


Statesboro wasted no time in getting the baseball season off to a good start.

The Blue Devils pushed across five runs in the first inning and never looked back as they cruised to a 9-1 victory over Richmond Hill Monday night at Mill Creek Regional Park.

Blue Devil pitchers allowed just one hit in a combined effort from Tyler Brown, Will Stewart, Colin Chance and Blakely Brown and no Wildcats advanced farther than first base until the seventh inning.

"It’s always great to start out the season with a win," SHS coach Jim Simmons said. "We weren’t thrilled with how our scrimmage went, but we had a good workout before today’s game. That translated onto the field and I thought that we were pretty solid in all phases of the game."

Statesboro (1-0) got all of the runs it needed before Richmond Hill starter Brian Strahan recorded his first out of the evening.

Ben Roberts struck out swinging to begin the bottom of the first for the Devils, but reached first base on a passed ball before a Jackson Ware single and a walk to Chance loaded the bases. Blakely Brown then singled to center to bring home Roberts and Ware for a 2-0 lead.

Ben Saunders grounded a 1-0 pitch to second, but Dallas Daniel threw wide to first, allowing Chance and Blakely Brown to score while Saunders rolled into second base. A sacrifice fly off the bat of Daniel Sands brought in Saunders for a 5-0 lead after the first inning.

"Getting a few runs early is great," Simmons said. "Especially in the first game of the year. It kind of helps to take the pressure off a little bit. The important thing is not to relax too much and I think that we did a good job of staying in the game even after that early success."

Blue Devils starter Tyler Brown breezed through two innings of work without allowing a base runner. Stewart picked up from there, and while Peyton Carter broke up Statesboro’s perfect game bid with two outs in the fourth inning, that was the only base runner that Stewart allowed.

Chance dominated the Wildcat bats, retiring all six batters he faced and striking out four. Blakeley Brown ran into a bit of trouble in the seventh after issuing two walks and allowing Will Wallace to score Richmond Hill’s only run, but quickly got out of the jam before the Wildcats could build any momentum.

"We got a very good effort from all of our pitchers tonight," Simmons said. "(Tyler) Brown was a little sore in our scrimmage, so it was good to see him come out strong. Colin and Will both mixed their pitches up well and even though Blakely got in a little bit of trouble, he kept his composure and got through it."

The Devils continued to pile on in the second inning as Roberts led off the frame with a double and was doubled home by Chance two batters later. Blakeley Brown singled home Chance to make it a 7-0 SHS lead after two innings.

Statesboro capped off its scoring in the fourth inning. Saunders ripped a single to right field to score Chance and Jordan Finch doubled down the right field line to bring Blakely Brown in to score.

Statesboro returns to action today at 5 p.m. as the Blue Devils travel to Savannah to take on Calvary Day at Grayson Stadium.


Mike Anthony may be reached at (912) 489-9404.