By Reid Bankston
With the regular season quickly winding down, the Water Valley Blue Devils are looking to build some much needed momentum. Coach Doug Robbins squad has struggled with mental mistakes throughout the season, but as division games grow in importance, the Blue Devils will need to play their best down the stretch as playoff spots are up for grabs. Water Valley (10-7, 4-4) will look to build off positive performances against division foes Eupora and Hatley to move up a very competitive division.
Water Valley vs. Eupora
Drew Pratt handcuffed Eupora for the second consecutive meeting, throwing seven scoreless innings in a 3-0 Blue Devil victory. Freshman infielder Taylor King contributed two RBI’s as Water Valley bounced back from a tough division setback against Ackerman earlier in the week. Eupora has had a tough time against the Blue Devils this season, as the season’s first meeting saw the Eagles surrender to the ten run mercy rule, before being blanked by Water Valley this time out.
Another solid pitching performance, this time by Josh Johnson, led the Blue Devils to an 8-0 over Hatley. Johnson rarely struggled, throwing seven shutout innings in a Water Valley rout. Little was needed at the plate for Water Valley, but that didn’t stop the hot bat of utility man Taylor King. King, a part time starter in the field, belted his team leading third homerun. Sophomore catcher J.D. Fondon improved his impressive on base percentage by reaching base safely in each of his plate appearances.
It was a case of role reversal for Water Valley and Hamilton in game two, as the two division foes battled it out in another close encounter. In an earlier season meeting, division favorite Hamilton rushed out to an early lead before being overtaken by a spirited Blue Devil rally. However, this time around, it was the Lions that provided the late inning heroics. Water Valley jumped out to an early 3-0 lead but failed to add to it, leaving the door open for the Lions. Hamilton took advantage of the Blue Devils’ complacency, scoring six unanswered runs en route to a crucial division win. Shonquayle Jenkins held the Lions to only three runs before Robbins turned the ball over to senior Tank Hervey. Unfortunately for the Blue Devils, Hamilton’s resiliency was rewarded as the Lions sent Hervey and Water Valley home just short of a double-header sweep.