Senior pitcher Brinson Anne Rogers was spectacular in the Statesboro Blue Devils opening round games of the State-AAAAA playoffs Tuesday afternoon at Mill Creek Park. Rogers had 27 strikeouts in the two games and allowed a total of three hits. It wasn’t enough though as Statesboro ended up splitting with Union Grove winning game one 3-0, but dropping the nitecap 1-0, forcing a third and decisive game Wednesday afternoon.
“I’ve said it before, anything worth having is not easy,” said Statesboro coach Jim Simmons. “I thought we defended well, and Brinson Anne really pitched well. We got runs home in the first game, and we really struggled at the plate in the second game.”
Statesboro managed just three hits in the second game off of Wolverine pitcher Courtney Dorsey who had no strikeouts in the game. Union Grove had only two hits, but made the most of their opportunity.
In the first inning with a runner on second Union Grove center fielder Ashley Mead had an 11 pitch at bat, that she capped off by ripping a single into left, Leslie Cochran scored easily for a 1-0 Wolverine lead.
Rogers had 10 strikeouts in game two, but had to work her way out of a few james, including bases loaded in the sixth, as she struck out Caroline Barrett for out number three.
The Blue Devils left runners on the corners in the fourth inning, and another in the top of the fifth. Rogers got out of another jam in the sixth as she struck out Leslie Cochran, and then catcher Lexi Tanner gunned down Aayanah Hughes at second to end the inning.
Statesboro hit a couple balls had in the top of the seventh, but third baseman Hughes was able to snag a hard shot by Carter, and fired to first to end the game.
“It was a tale of two different games out there,” Simmons said. “We came through in the clutch in game one, and we did not in the second game, while they did.”
The Blue Devils rode the arm of Rogers in game one, and came through with some timely hitting as well. Rogers had 16 strikeouts on the mound and allowed only one hit. Rogers also came through with an RBI single in the third inning. The Blue Devils other two runs were driven in by Lexi Tanner, and Tanner Kaiser.
“We talked about how to come through in clutch situations, and we did it in the first game,” Simmons said. “We were aggressive, and moved runners around to scoring position, and then got the home.”
Offensively the Blue Devils only had five hits in the first game, but were able to hit quite a few balls hard. Statesboro started the scoring in the second inning. Kinlee Carter was hit by a pitch, she advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt, and then came home to score on an RBI single to center by Lexi Tanner, sliding under the tag at home.
The Blue Devils added a run in the third, as Rogers helped her own cause. Bailee Roberts came through with a one-run infield hit, she moved to second on a bunt by Avery Wiggins, and then came home on a rocket to right center by Rogers to make it 2-0 Statesboro.
Statesboro added their third and final run in the fourth inning. Tanner Kaiser’s shallow fly ball to center fell for an RBI single. Rogers did the rest on the mound getting the final strikeout for a 3-0 Blue Devil victory.
“We need to do better at making adjustments during at bats, and throughout the game,” Simmons said. “The good thing is we get to tee things up again tomorrow. I think our girls will be ready.”
The split forces a third and decisive game which will be played Wednesday afternoon at 5: