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Wildcats take on SHS Blue Devils

The regular season is over for Statesboro High School’s baseball team and despite a rocky season, the Blue Devils are just two wins away from the state playoffs.
    Camden County (11-9, 8-4 region) stands in the way of the Blue Devils (9-12, 4-8 region) playoff berth.
    The Blue Devils have not faced Camden County all year, but will travel on the road today to face CC and SHS baseball coach Jim Simmons said the Wildcats will be a tough team to beat.
    “(Head coach) Jay Lasley does a great job. He’s been there for a while and he’s a very smart coach. They play hard and fast,” Simmons said.
    SHS will face Camden County in a double header today, with the first pitch scheduled for 4:30 p.m.
Here’s what to look for as the Blue Devils take on the Wildcats for a shot at going to state.
    The Blue Devils had some struggles towards the end of the year, going on an 8-game losing streak. However, SHS got a much-needed win over Calvary Day Tuesday night notching a 12-9 victory.
    The win put the Blue Devils back on the right track just days before the start of the playoffs. Coach Simmons said the regular season finale win over Calvary Day should help with the Blue Devils’ confidence.
    “It was good to finish up our regular season with a win yesterday,” said Simmons before his team’s big game. “Hopefully that will provide us with a little momentum after that long stretch of losses.”
    It wasn’t etched in stone Wednesday morning, but it appears as though Blue Devils’ leadoff hitter Bailey Brown should return for the series against the Wildcats.
    Brown was injured after taking a pitch to the head in game action, leaving him sidelined for a few games. Coach Simmons said Brown has progressed well and should be back to full strength for the start of the series.
    “He has progressed through the concussion protocol nicely and we hope we are able to get him back. We’re just excited to have him back,” Simmons said.
    In Brown’s absence, freshman Davis Wiggins filled in at the starting spot. The experience Wiggins received should add to the Blue Devils’ depth come playoff time, Simmons said.
    “He did a great job stepping in and showed he’s ready to compete at the varsity level,” Simmons said.
    With a chance to go to the state playoffs, Coach Simmons has decided to throw his aces on the mound in the double header today.
    Blakely Brown is scheduled to start things off for the Blue Devils, followed by sophomore pitcher Austin Kleinlein. Later in the season, Simmons said he would like to see his pitching staff work on switching things up on the mound. Look for Blakely Brown and Kleinlein to change up their pitches deeper in the count.
    “We’ve got a great amount of confidence in Blakely Brown and Austin (Kleinlein). We have to play the way we play and play some solid defense behind them and get the bats going,” Simmons said.

    Horace Holloman may be reached at (912) 489-9408.