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SHS Baseball tops SEB on opening night
SHS Baseball
Statesboro High's Drake Horton (4) is welcomed with enthusiasm to the dugout after scoring in the second inning against Southeast Bulloch on Monday at Mill Creek Park. (Statesboro Herald photo/SCOTT BRYANT)

Monday night was a beautiful evening to get the 2020 baseball season underway. There were spring-like temperatures in Brooklet as the Southeast Bulloch Yellow Jackets and Statesboro Blue Devils helped christen in the season. The Blue Devils opened up an early lead, and cruised to a 7-1 victory.

The Blue Devils were paced by solid pitching from Mikal Mascarello, Landon Yates and Drake Horton combined to allow only two hits, over seven innings of work, with six strikeouts.

“I felt like we put some pretty quality balls in play on offense,” said Statesboro coach Jim Simmons. “I felt like we were pretty good out there on the mound. We need to throw more strikes. Walking six batters is too much tonight, but overall I’m pleased with our progress.”

The lone Jacket run of the night came on a bases loaded walk by the Blue Devils, who helped themselves by jumping on the Jackets early on.

Austin Arendas led off the top of the second with a single to left. He advanced to second on an errant pick off attempt. Drake Horton then drove a deep fly ball to right center. Right fielder Ethan Shannon collided with center fielder Will Hitchens, and the ball rolled to the fence. Horton came all the way home to score, and the Blue Devils took a 2-0 lead.

Still in the second Will Yawn reached on a Jacket error at second. Ames Rackleff then singled to right, and came home to score on a single to right by J.D. Kaiser to extend the Blue Devil lead to 3-0.

“I felt like we really hurt ourselves with sloppy play tonight,” said Southeast Bulloch coach Brandon Peterson. “We have a lot of young kids playing, but they have a good work ethic and I think if they keep that I think we will have some good results down the line.”

The Blue Devils tacked four more runs on in the fourth to extend their lead to 7-0. Jackson Proctor, Dake Williams, and Arendas all had RBI’s in the fourth inning. Mascarello threw four innings, allowing only one hit and walked two in notching the win on the mound.

The Jackets scored their lone run as Hitchens walked to score Peyton Carr with the bases loaded in the bottom of the seventh inning.

“I like the way we competed out there today,” Peterson said. “We played hard, but we were playing a pretty good team out there and you can’t do things like we did tonight and win against a good team. Our region schedule is on us pretty quick, and it’s important to play tough teams like Statesboro to get us ready.”

The two teams tee it up again Wednesday at Mill Creek with a 5:30 start.