The Statesboro Blue Devil softball team is now one win away from another first. A trip to Columbus Georgia and a ticket to the elite eight
Statesboro earned a split with second-ranked Locust Grove, winning game one 4-3 in 10 innings and falling 6-4 in the nightcap.
“The two games were flip flopped,” said Statesboro coach Jim Simmons, “They played a little loose in game one, giving us a three spot to start the game, and we gave them a little help in game two.”
Game one saw the Blue Devils jump out to a 3-0 lead in the first. Following a walk to McKenzie Wilkerson, Morgan Thompson reached on an error and then Bailee Roberts came through with an RBI single to right plating pinch runner Jamiah Jones and giving Statesboro a 1-0 lead.
Brinson Anne Rogers then helped her own cause with a 2-run single to left center plating Thompson and Roberts and making it 3-0 Statesboro.
Locust Grove scratched back for a run in the bottom of the third, and solo home runs in the sixth by Bailee Richardson, and the seventh by Meagan Pilner tied the game at 3-3.
The game remained tied through nine innings, which would then put the tiebreaker rule in effect.
Statesboro led off the tenth with Hartlee Faircloth on second and no outs. Faircloth advanced to third on a wild pitch and then came in to score on a single to center by Adrienne Newell.
Rogers did the rest on the mound, and with two outs Wildcat pitcher Martina Maloch launched a deep fly ball to right that Cassidy Stephens caught a few feet from the fence for out number three and a 4-3 Statesboro High victory.
Game two saw Statesboro manufacture a couple runs in the first off Wildcat walks and errors, then Bailee Roberts RBI single in the third made it 3-0. Avery wiggins added an RBI on a sacrifice fly to right to make it 4-0.
The the wheels came off for the Blue Devils in the sixth. A RBI single by Bailee Richardson made it 4-1. Later after a ground out scored another run to make it 4-2, with a runner on second, Martina Maloch singled to center, the throw home was late, Maloch took off for second and McKenzie Wilkerson’s throw ended up sailing to the fence in center allowing Maloch to come all the way home trying the game at 4-4.
The Wildcats then took the lead in the seventh. With runners on second and third Morgan Elston ripped a double to the gap in left center, both runners scored and the Wildcats would go on to win 6-4.
Despite losing a heartbreaker in game two Simmons says the girls are ready to come back Thursday and take care of business.
“I’m super proud of the girls,” said Simmons, “I think their mind set is good and they are ready and excited to play tomorrow.”
The third and deciding game will take place Thursday at 3:00 at Locust Grove.