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Devils' slide continues
031218 SHS BASEBALL 01
Effingham second baseman Jordan Rahn, left, is ready for the tag on Statesboro High's Braden Mock at second to close out the fourth inning Monday at Mill Creek Park.

    The Statesboro Blue Devil baseball team was once again able to stay within striking distance of an opponent, but in the long run weren’t able to make the plays and get the hits when they had to.

    In the process, their losing streak swelled to 11 straight, as they lost to Effingham County by a score of 3-1 Monday at Mill Creek Park.

    The Blue Devils outhit the Rebels 3-2, but Statesboro pitching gave up nine walks and the Blue Devil gloves behind them added two errors. On the other side of things, the Rebels did not allow a single walk, and were perfect in the field.

    “We have to try and limit the free passes, and we did have two errors as well,” said Statesboro coach Jim Simmons. “We are trying to simplify things at the plate, and I think that is helping, but we are still allowing too many fastballs go by in counts where we have two strikes.”

    The scoring started in the third as the Rebels were able to manufacture their first run. A walk to Christian Campbell started the inning. Campbell then stole second and scored on an RBI single by Jerid Stokes as Effingham opened up a 1-0 lead.

    In the fourth, a leadoff walk to Chrys Hawkins was followed by a passed ball, advancing the runner to second. Wake Johnson then singled to right, plating Hawkins and giving the Rebels a 2-0 lead.

    Statesboro finally got on the board in the bottom of the fourth. Sage Reese legged out an infield hit, and then stole second and third. Reese came in to score on a deep fly ball to left by Wright Rocket that fell for a double and the lead was cut to 2-1. A fielder's choice was followed by Braden Mock being thrown out attempting to steal second to end the inning.

    Effingham added an insurance run in the top of the fifth as a bases loaded walk brought home their third and final run.

    “The attitudes are still good, and the players still seem excited about coming out here,” Simmons said. “I think they are taking their losses in the right way, there is frustration on their faces, and a little bit of youthful anger. When they come back the next day they have reset, and are ready to go to work again.”

    Rocket allowed only two hits and one earned run in 4.1 innings of work. Ashton Bradley and Cole Leggett didn't allow another hit the rest of the way. The Blue Devil pitchers did however walk nine batters.

    “I was really impressed by how Wright Rocket did on the mound,” Simmons said. “It was only his second start, and I really see him improving.”       

Ethan Johnson threw a complete game for Effingham County. He allowed only three hits, no walks and struck out 10 Blue Devil batters as he went the distance to earn the victory for the Rebels.

    Statesboro falls to 1-12, while Effingham improves to 7-7 on the season. The three-game, weeklong region series continues at Effingham County on Wednesday at 6 p.m.