By Reid Bankston
WATER VALLEY – Heading into the heart of the division schedule, Water Valley continues to struggle for consistency, dropping two of their last three games.
The Blue Devils (7-5 overall, 2-1 division) pounded the Nettleton Tigers 12-1 at home to improve their division mark, but followed up the impressive win with two one run losses on the road against division foes Winona and Grenada.
In their home division opener against Nettleton, Water Valley got out to a fast start, scoring twice in the first inning and three times in the second, before the Tigers could even get on the board.
Walt McCullough stifled the Nettleton offense from the mound, throwing a complete game four hitter, while striking out four Tiger batters. The win takes McCullough to 2-1 on the season, and improves his earned run average to 3.29.
At the plate, Water Valley enjoyed another productive day, totaling 11 hits and four doubles. McCullough, Cole Camp, and Adam Langham all had two hit games, with the trio combining to drive in four Water Valley runs.
McCullough has enjoyed a strong start to the season at the plate, batting .400, and driving in a team high 13 runs. Camp has shown vast improvement from a season ago, hitting .375 with six runs batted in. Langham has continued to be the surprise player of the year, hitting .500 with two homeruns and a team leading 12 hits.
The Blue Devils dropped their first division game of the season on the road against Winona on March the 25th, as a late rally brought Water Valley even, before eventually falling 5-4 in extra innings.
Winona jumped out to an early lead, scoring one run in the first and three in the third, leaving the Blue Devils with work to do on the road. Water Valley started their comeback in the top half of the fourth inning, getting two runs back, before eventually adding one run a piece in the fifth and seventh inning.
The Blue Devils couldn’t hold onto the momentum heading into extra innings though, as Winona plated a run in the bottom of the eighth inning to give the Tigers the win.
Water Valley combined for six hits, including a homerun, but Winona’s West Hammond recorded the win in relief, after Winona starter Andrew Chesteen went seven innings, striking out eight Water Valley batters while issuing five walks.
The Tigers improved their overall record to 9-2, and look to pose a serious threat to Water Valley in the division race.
Winona and Water Valley again squared off last night, although the game finished after press time.
Blue Devils will look to gain some division momentum in their next two division games against Aberdeen, while also looking to add a win against area foe Lafayette this weekend.