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Blue Devil Winning Streak Extends To Five Games

Water Valley Blue Devil catcher Justin Brooks frames a pitch from pitcher Tank Hervey as a Charleston Tiger batter takes one looking. Hervey finished with 10 strikeouts on the day. The Water Valley team captured two wins during Saturday’s doubleheaded at W.V.H.S. field – Photo by Jeff Eubanks

By Jeff Eubanks
Sports Reporter

WATER VALLEY – The baseball Blue Devils (5-2 overall) were able to pick up a couple of wins Saturday, March 1, in doubleheader action against the Charleston Tigers at W.V.H.S. field. The Devils outscored the Tigers 6-2 in the first game and 12-2 in the second.

Game 1

In Control

    Tank Hervey (2-0) turned in another stellar performance on the mound. The righty was able to throw six innings, allowing four hits and two earned runs, while striking out ten and walking only two. He effectively mixed his pitches and locations all night to keep hitters off guard.

    The Tigers opened up the top half of the first inning with a single and a double, putting runners on second and third with nobody out. Hervey seemed to clamp down from that moment on. He was able to work himself out of the jam by striking out the next three batters.

    Eight of the first nine outs recorded against the Tigers were by way of strikeouts from Hervey.

    “The key with him (Hervey) is if he stays in the zone and keeps his walk total down he will be successful,” reported Doug Robbins, head coach of the Blue Devils.

    “He competed and came to play today. It was fun to watch him,” added Robbins on the performance turned in by Hervey.

    The Tigers were able to push one run across in the top of the fourth and the sixth.

    After walking two batters with two outs, Hervey found himself in a situation in the top of the sixth that was similar to what he had experience in the first, runners on second and third and needing to clamp down, this time only needing one out. He was able to recreate what had happened earlier in the game by getting out of the jam by way of strikeout to end the threat and the inning.

    Shonquayle Jenkins came into relief to pitch a scoreless seventh. Jenkins walked one and struck out one while getting a couple of groundball outs.

The Bottom Half

    The Blue Devils were able to score in every inning, but the third. They posted one in the first, two in the second and one in the fourth, fifth and sixth. Hitters six thru nine had five of the Blue Devils nine hits and scored three of the six runs.

    Drew Pratt led the way in the seven hole going three for three with two doubles and two RBI. Justin Brooks in the nine hole went one for three with a RBI single and a sacrifice. Jenkins doubled and scored a run from his six spot.

    Pratt’s RBI double in the second inning brought Jenkins in from second to make the score 2-0. Brooks was able to lay down a sacrifice bunt to advance Pratt to third. Josh Johnson was able to reach on an error by the third baseman, scoring Pratt making the score 3-0. The Devils were able to put up three more runs over the next four innings making the final score 6-2.

    Johnson was able to reach base every time he stepped in the box, going two for three with a triple and two runs scored.

    Brandon Brooks and Hervey had the other two hits for the Blue Devils.

Game 2

Getting Some Work

    The Blue Devils sent four pitchers to the mound in the second game of the doubleheader. Johnson (3-1) pitched the first two innings, giving up three hits and two earned runs while striking out three to get the win. Josh Lowery, Brandon Brooks and Walt McCullough were able to pitch scoreless third, fourth and fifth innings for the Blue Devils in relief. The trio combined allowed only one hit.

    “Overall I was pretty pleased with how we threw strikes,”commented Robbins on the Blue Devil pitching staff

    Charleston’s  Doshea Chambers missed the first game due to a power lift meet. You could tell that he had been pumping the iron as he drove the first pitch he saw off Johnson over the left field fence for a solo home run. The Tigers were able to scratch for one more run in the top of the first off Johnson, but that would be all that they were able to put up against the Blue Devil pitching staff.

    Lowery owed Hervey a pat on the back after the top of the third inning. The Tigers were able to hit the ball hard against Lowery; luckily they were all hit in the vicinity of centerfielder Hervey. Hervey was able to snag all three outs of the inning with a couple of them coming on full sprint catches.

A Big First

    The Blue Devils found themselves down 2-0 before they took the bat in the first inning. Seventeen batters later the Blue Devils had an 11-2 lead on seven hits and six walks. The first eleven batters that the Blue Devils sent to the plate all reached base safely and all came in to score. Johnson and McCullough both were able to go two for two in the first with two singles and a RBI each.

    Eight different Blue Devils were able to record hits on the night.

    Lowery’s RBI single in the third brought Johnson home and extended the score to 12-2.

    Johnson led the Blue Devils in hitting going three for four, scoring three times and swiping two steals. Lowery and Pratt finished going one for two with two RBI each. B. Brooks, Hervey and Jenkins all had an RBI as well for the Blue Devils.

    As of presstime, next action for the Blue Devils will be against district opponent Eupora. The Eagles will come to town Tuesday, March 4 and will begin junior varsity action at 4:00 p.m. with varsity to follow shortly after at W.V.H.S. field. The Blue Devils will then travel to Hamilton, Friday, March 7 to play another district ballgame with junior varsity action beginning at 4:30 p.m. and varsity once again to follow shortly after. The Blue Devils will host Independence, Saturday, March 8 in a varsity only doubleheader starting at 3:00 p.m. Please come out and show support for your Water Valley Blue Devils as they start their march through district play.

    (Note:  The Friday, Feb. 29 game at Bruce was canceled due to the rain and is rescheduled to play Friday, April 4.)

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