WATER VALLEY – The Water Valley Blue Devil baseball team (5-2) was able to pick up its first district win over the Eupora Eagles Tuesday, March 4 at W.V.H.S. field.
The Blue Devils were able to push a run across in the bottom of the first and second inning to go up on one of the state’s top pitchers in Eupora’s Devin Jones 2-0. The two-run lead was enough for Tank Hervey to work with, as he went the distance throwing all seven innings, striking out 11 and walking one, while only allowing two hits and picking up the teams’ first district win.
Bringing the A Game
The face-off against one of the top arms in the state did not faze Blue Devil pitcher Hervey. The righty was able to out dual the soon-to-be Mississippi State Bulldog Jones on the afternoon in a playoff type atmosphere.
The 30 degree weather did little to cool Hervey. He had all of his pitches working for him on the day and was in control throughout the entire game. A three-up, three-down first inning was only a glimpse for what was about to come. Hervey faced more than three batters an inning only twice in the game and was able to strikeout six of his last nine outs, retiring the last nine all in order.
“Every inning he took the mound as if it was his. He just competed today,” said Blue Devil Head Coach Doug Robbins on his pitchers performance against one of the top arm’s in the state
The lone jam of the night for Hervey came when Eupora was able to put runners on the corners in the top of the fourth. Eupora’s Colton Prather singled and was able to reach third by way of a fielder’s choice and a passed ball. A two-out walk to Coy Patterson put runners at first and third. Hervey was able to get Euporaís David Grahm to fly out to center to end the threat and get out of the jam.
The jam of the fourth showed not to bother Hervey as he came out to strikeout the next four batters he faced.
The Blue Devils defense did not let Hervey down when the Eagles got the bat on the ball as they were errorless the entire ball game and looked smooth when given the chance to make a play.
“I’m proud of these guys. They competed from the time we started till the time it was over. Every one of them did.”
Aggressive on the Basepath
Josh Johnson was able to open the bottom of the first inning with a single up the middle. After a passed ball and a stolen base Johnson was setting at third and eying home plate. A passed ball during Brandon Brooks’ at-bat allowed Johnson to score and put the first Blue Devil run on the board.
Drew Pratt was able to start the bottom of the second with the same fashion by singling to center field. A passed ball and throwing error by the Eagles’ catcher brought Pratt safely into home and put the Blue Devils up 2-0.
The Blue Devils were five for six in steal opportunities for the afternoon and it proved to be an intricate part to their win.
“We were very aggressive today. Today I was a little more aggressive than normal, but when you got that kid (Jones) on the mound I’m hoping to get a runner to third base and we roll the ball somewhere and get a run or maybe he throws it to the screen. And that happened twice and that’s the difference in the ball game,” said Robbins.
Johnson and Pratt led the Blue Devils with two hits each. Johnson finished two-for-three with a double and two stolen bases. Pratt was able to go two-for-two at the plate with a double and a walk. Brandon Brooks was able to leg out an infield single as well.
“The guys got after it and they fought the entire ball game and that is what it takes. (This is) a big win for our program.”
At presstime the Blue Devils are playing in a tournament hosted in Itawamba. Home and district action continues when the Blue Devils host district opponent Hatley , Friday March 14, with junior varsity action beginning at 4:30 p.m. and varsity to follow shortly after. Water Valley will then host Oxford, Saturday March 15, in a round of split squad action. Junior varsity will begin at 4 p.m. and varsity is set to start at 6 p.m. District action continues when Bruce comes to town, Tuesday March 18 for another round of split squad action at W.V.H.S field. Junior varsity will begin at 4 p.m. and varsity will follow shortly after.
Please come out and support your Water Valley Blue Devils as they continue their march through district play.