By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Devils start off strong
shs web
Statesboro High's Cassidy Stephens, right, manages to avoid a rundown and beats the tag of Jenkins County catcher Katie Butler for a score during the fourth inning Monday. Statesboro poured it on late to notch a 10-2 victory Monday at Mill Creek Regional Park.

    Freshman Brinson Anne Rogers struck out nine batters in a complete game performance as Statesboro opened their renovated field with the 10-2 mercy rule thrashing of Jenkins County Monday night.
    The funny thing was, Rogers didn’t even know she was going to pitch last night.
    “You know, I’m just a freshman so I didn’t think I was expected to do anything today,” Rogers said. “At first I just wanted to show everyone I belonged up there. Once I started throwing, I thought ‘yeah, this is where I belong.’”
    In her first high school game, Rogers faced 19 batters and allowed only two hits with no walks. Of her 73 pitches, 49 were strikes and neither run was earned — allowing her to end the game with a perfect 0.00 ERA.
    “Brinson Anne did a fantastic job pitching today,” Statesboro coach Jim Simmons said. “She’s played a lot of softball in her travel league, but to come out her as a freshman and pound the zone like she did was great.”
    Rogers’ stellar debut looked to be foiled early on when Jenkins plated the first two runs of the game in the top of the third. A one-out, error by Statesboro allowed Morgan Jenkins to reach base, then a double by Taylor Butler put two runners in scoring position. After a strikeout from Rogers, Makayla Baggett slapped a dribbler down the foul line and forced a tough play by Statesboro’s Jenna Coble — allowing a run to score.
    The next at-bat, Statesboro catcher McKenzi Wilkerson looked to have a runner thrown out at second when her ball deflected out of the shortstop's glove, letting Butler score the second run.
    “We had some hiccups on the defensive end,” Simmons said. “We’ll look to tighten that up as the season progresses along and continue to work on our defense.”
    The Blue Devils responded big with a five-run bottom of the third, starting with a two-run double from Morgan Thompson to tie the game at two runs apiece. Thompson would come around to score again to take the lead off an error, while another wild pitch at the end of the inning brought in two more runs.
    “We were really swinging the bat well today,” Thompson said. “We laid off all the bad pitches and were patient on the pitches we could hit.”
    Statesboro followed with another five-run barrage in the bottom of the fourth to really put the game out of reach. Starting with a walk, stolen base and a single — Madelyn Fennell laid down a well-placed bunt to make it 6-2. A series of wild pitches and passed balls rang up the score to 8-2, then to finish off the inning Statesboro hit back-to-back fielder’s choices to cement the mercy rule 10-2.
    “We may have started off the game a little flat,” Simmons said. “But once we honed in everything we had worked on this summer showed on the field.”
    As a team, Statesboro scored 10 runs off just five hits — though benefited from six walks as well. The Blue Devils didn’t have a single batter strike out after seeing a total of 72 pitches.
    “I really liked how we swung the bat today,” Simmons said. “Once we got through the lineup the second time we really got to take advantage of our strengths on offense.”
    The Blue Devils (1-0) play again on Wednesday when they host Metter at 6 p.m.

Field Dedication

    Before Statesboro threw a single pitch, the team sat by to celebrate the dedication of their renovated softball field at the Mill Creek complex.
    Along with the team, many big names came out to the field to help dedicate the renovated dugouts, fences and facilities for the 2016 season. Statesboro principal Dr. Ken LeCain, Bulloch County Superintendent Charles Wilson, Bulloch County COO Paul Webb and district-four state senator Jack Hill were all present for the ribbon cutting.
    “Once the decision was made to stay at Mill Creek, our board and Jack Hill worked together to make this finished product in just five months,” Webb said. “The most exciting thing to me is to see the faces of those girls when I went out there to shake their hands and knowing they’ll have a big time dugout and field to play on.”
    Using labor from the department of corrections and funding approval from the board of education, the staff at Mill Creek was able to renovate the field in time for the season to start.

    Chris Stanley may be reached at (912) 489-9408.