The Statesboro Blue Devils nearly let one get away from them Wednesday night at Mill Creek against South Effingham. The Blue Devils led the region match up 5-2 only to see the Mustangs tie the game 6-6 in the top of the seventh, but the Blue Devils ended up with the walk off win as Jackson Proctor scored from third on a wild pitch with two outs.
“It was an exciting game from the beginning,” said Statesboro coach Jim Simmons. “We made it a little more exciting then it should have been, but I’m proud of our team for battling back and picking up a huge region victory.”
Leading 5-2 the Blue Devils saw the Mustangs begin to chip away at their lead. South Effingham scored two runs in the top of the sixth. With two outs and runners on second and third Logan Rahn drove a triple to center, clearing the bases and cutting the lead to 5-4.
Statesboro added a run in the bottom of the sixth. Ames Rackleff led off with a single, eventually he advanced to third, and would then score on a wild pitch to push the Blue Devil lead to 6-4.
The Mustangs came back to score two more runs in the top of the seventh. With the bases loaded a hard shot to the right side turned into a two run error as Phillip Cooper and Shane Chapman both scored to make it 6-6.
The Blue Devils came right back in the bottom of the seventh. Jackson Proctor led things off with a double to left. Two batters later Drake Horton singled to right. With two outs and Will Yawn at the plate Mustang pitcher J Gross uncorked a wild pitch, Proctor hustled home, and despite some protest from the Mustang fans and coaches, the Blue Devils secured the 7-6 victory.
“I understand where they were coming from there at the end,” Simmons said. “They were begging for an obstruction call, but the batter held his ground, and the first contact with the catcher was while he was in the batter's box.”
Statesboro actually trailed 2-0 in the third, but rebounded nicely in the bottom of the inning. Bradley Gronefeld started the scoring with an RBI single to left. Ryan Lindsey then scored on an error at short, followed by a two run double to left by Proctor to give Statesboro a 4-2 lead.
The Blue Devils pounded out 11 hits in the game led by Gronfeld, Dake Williams and Proctor who each had two hits. Gronefeld also pitched a complete game allowing four earned runs on seven hits while striking out four.
“I liked the way we swung the bat up there tonight,” Simmons said. “Bradley didn’t have his best stuff, but he battled out there and he helped pull us through.”
Statesboro improves to 12-11 overall and 5-3 in region play. Up next the Blue Devils and Mustangs will wrap up their three game series Thursday at 6:00 in a game that was moved up do to expected rain on Friday.