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Strong start lifts Blue Devils to region win
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    Statesboro scored 12 runs, racked up 11 RBIs, tallied 10 hits and stole seven bases — all in the first inning — punishing the Academy of Richmond County Wednesday at Mill Creek Park.
    Zach Taylor and Landry Jones were the only two Blue Devils without a hit, and even Taylor was credited with an RBI in his second at-bat of the first inning.
    Statesboro (8-4, 2-1) made a concerted effort to slap the ball into right field Wednesday, as eight of its 14 hits went to the right side.
    “Coach (Chris) Bishop’s been preaching about that for the last couple of weeks,” said Blue Devil shortstop Grayson Wiggins. “I think we did a good job of that tonight and got a lot of base hits because of that.”
    Taylor Lewis led off the bottom of the first with a single to right, then stole second during Taylor’s first of two strikeouts. Wiggins then singled to right, scoring Lewis to make the score 1-0.
    Wiggins stole second before Josh Ware lined a shot off the second base umpire to put runners at first and second. Tony Hill then lined a shot to center to score Ware and Wiggins who had already advanced on a double steal.
    Hill took a stolen base of his own, then scored from second on Luke Connell’s looping double to right. Connell moved to third on Daniel Whitt’s dribbler down the third-base line, then both he and Whitt scored on Trent Lewis’ double down the right-field line. The Devils had scored six runs in their first nine at-bats.
    “We’ve been really working on (hitting the ball to right) hard,” said Bishop. “The guys did a good job, we’ve been working on that and we’re going to work on it some more.”
    Bishop wasn’t kidding — SHS hit the cages as soon as the game was called after 2 1/2 innings.
    Taylor Lewis lined a ball to center in his second at-bat of the first, scoring Trent Lewis. Taylor Lewis would make it to third then score on a wild pitch while Taylor took a walk, giving SHS an 8-0 lead.
    Wiggins would double to drive in Taylor, followed by a Ware single to make the score 10-0. Hill then hit a rope to right fielder Brady Hughes who missed played the ball, allowing Hill to come around for an inside-the-park-home run and a 12-0 Statesboro advantage.    
    Jones got the win for SHS, pitching 3 innings, allowing one hit and one walk. Brandon Lindsey took the loss for ARC (4-7, 0-3), surrendering 15 runs, 14 hits and four wild pitches while striking out five.
    Wiggins finished 3-for-3 with three RBI, two stolen bases and two runs scored and Hill went 2-for-2 with a home run, four RBI and two runs scored.
    The Blue Devils added three in the second before leaving the bases loaded.
    Statesboro travels to Lakeside Friday for a 5 p.m. first pitch.