On a perfect day for baseball, Statesboro High School was nearly as good.
The Blue Devils jumped on Screven County early and often, finishing off the Gamecocks, 12-2, in six innings Tuesday night at Mill Creek Regional Park.
The Blue Devils (6-4) swept the season series from Screven. SHS was a 13-3 winner in the first game Feb. 28.
Statesboro scored in each of the six frames in which it batted, which was more than enough for starting pitcher D.J. Grimes to work with.
The senior right-hander went four strong innings for the Devils. In one of the best outings of his career, Grimes allowed just a pair of hits, struck out four and never allowed a Gamecock runner to advance past second base.
“I don’t think there’s any doubt that this was D.J.’s best outing of the season,” SHS coach Jim Simmons said. “He did a great job of going after hitters and throwing strikes. That’s exactly what we’re going to need from him throughout the year.”
Justin Dickerson relieved Grimes in the fifth inning. Dickerson walked two and surrendered a pair of runs in allowing the first five Screven batters to reach, but coaxed a 1-2-3 double play out of Caleb Krulik, and got a groundout from Aaron Brower to end the threat.
Dillon Johnson worked an efficient sixth inning before Statesboro ended the game in the bottom half.
Offensively, Kendrick Thompson led the way for Statesboro. He laced doubles in his first two at-bats, knocking in one run in the first inning and two in the second, to pace the offense. Thompson scored on Lance Mangrum’s RBI single to give SHS a 2-0 lead after the first inning.
Ben Saunders and Daniel Sands led off the Blue Devil second inning with back-to-back singles. Haydon Rollins knocked in Saunders with a fielder’s choice before Thompson extended the lead to 5-0 with a double.
A run-scoring Screven error and a two-run single by Quante Huff blew the game open at 8-0 in the third inning, and Saunders knocked in a run and later scored on a wild pitch to make it 10-0 in the fourth. Insurance runs in both the fifth and sixth innings put the mercy rule into effect and brought the game to an early end.
Monday night, Statesboro beat Southeast Bulloch, 9-6, to complete a season sweep.
Mike Anthony can be reached at (912) 489-9404.