The Statesboro Blue Devils have been red hot lately. The Blue Devils came into Monday’s region matchup with Effingham County having won eight of their last nine games and were 12-5 overall and 5-1 in region play. Monday the Blue Devils dug themselves an early hole and were unable to come back in dropping an 8-4 decision to the Rebels at Mill Creek Park.
“We struggled getting behind on the count pitching the first few innings and made a couple crucial errors,” said Bishop. “We scored four runs and settled down on the mound but we have to come out of the gates a little better. Our at bats were a lot better than they may seem so I was pretty happy with that. We only had one strikeout the whole game at the pate we just hit the ball right at them. Hopefully we can bounce back and still win the series.”
Bishop was faced with trying to piece together a pitching performance Monday with starter Dylan Gronefeld out with an injury and Thomas Ponder having to hold off to pitch until Wednesday or Friday. Rebels jumped on the Blue Devils for two runs in the both the first and second inning and then extended their lead to 8-0 with four runs in the third.
Statesboro was able to cut the lead in half with four runs in their half of the third inning. Grae Haralson had a two-run triple and Drew Yawn then brought Harlason in with an RBI single. The Blue Devils added another run on an RBI single from Thomas Ponder to make it 8-4.
Neither team was able to score the rest of the way and the Blue Devils were able to get out of trouble in the fourth inning with a rare triple play.
The Blue Devils also got a few nice innings of relief from sophomore pitcher Aiden Lewis. Lewis came into the game with the bases loaded and one out in the fifth inning and was able to work his way out with a strikeout and a pop out to end the inning. Lewis went two and two thirds' innings allowing only one hit while striking out three Rebel batters.
“I thought Aiden looked pretty good out there tonight,” said Bishop. “The first thing we need from these guys who are coming in is to throw strikes. Aiden did a good job of that and getting out of trouble there in the fifth showed a lot of composure.”
The Blue Devils drop to 5-2 in the region but still have a couple of chances this week to win the series with Effingham County. Wednesday the two teams are scheduled to play in Springfield and then Friday the two teams get a chance to play at J.I. Clements stadium as part of the inaugural Simmons cup. The late Jim Simmons coached at both Statesboro and Effingham and the game is being played in his honor.
“It’s a great chance to be on a college field for these boys,” said Bishop. “Most of them have been around that stadium a lot growing up around here and I know it will be a real thrill to get out there on the field and play a game. To be playing this game with Jim Simmons name attached to it makes it even more special.”
The game Friday is scheduled for a 6:00 start.