The New Hampstead Phoenix have been the cellar dwellers of region 2-AAAAA, but have always been able to hang around against one of the region's top teams in the Statesboro Blue Devils. Tuesday night at Mill Creek was another example of that, as the Blue Devils were never really in jeopardy, but were unable to put New Hampstead away winning 7-2.
I felt like we did pretty good at the plate,” said Statesboro coach Jim Simmons. “We made contact throughout the game, and adjusted well to the speed of the pitching. I felt like Kinlee Carter was sharp on the mound, and we played pretty good defense behind her.”
Statesboro jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the second on a two-run single to left by Addison Helton. A hit, and a Statesboro error helped the Phoenix close the gap to 2-1 in the top of the third. The Phoenix actually loaded the bases in the third, before Blue Devil pitcher Kinlee Carter got a strikeout to end the inning.
An Avery Wiggins bunt with two on in the bottom of the third proved to be adventurous for the Phoenix, as catcher Rachel Lee threw the ball into right field, allowing both runners to score and put Wiggins on third.
Carter helped her own cause in the fourth with an RBI single to left. Another Phoenix error plated Blue Devil run number six, and Tanner Kaiser finished the scoring with an RBI single to center for the final score of 7-2.
The win improves the Blue Devils overall record to an impressive 15-4, but more importantly ups their region mark to a perfect 6-0. Statesboro has never won the region since becoming a member of region 2-AAAAA, and have a chance to do that with wins over Wayne County Thursday, and Ware County next Tuesday.
“I’ve talked to the girls about that, and it’s a huge thing for us,” Simmons said. “It’s not out number one goal, but it’s up there and means a lot. If we can win the region, that means we will get to host the region tournament, and the more successful we are, the more games we get to play here at Mill Creek.”
“We don’t like to try and look ahead, but we know if we continue to win, that sets things up well in the state tournament,” Simmons said. “We try not to harp on it too much, we want them to play each game like it’s the most important game we have to play.”
Next up Statesboro travels to Wayne County Thursday for a 5:30 start.