A few costly errors in the first inning of Friday’s Region 3A-AAAA game between Liberty County High School and Statesboro allowed the visiting Blue Devils to gain a big advantage, one they never looked back from.
The game quickly erupted to a blow out with the Blue Devils claiming a 22-0 victory in four innings at LCHS.
Panther coach Joel Moody had Curtis Michalowicz, his more experienced pitcher, start the game. However, with one out in the first inning, the Panther outfield missed two opportunities in making plays, and the infield missed an easy fly ball. The Blue Devils also drove hits to the gaps, and within the blink of an eye, Statesboro team was up, 7-0.
In the second inning, Michalowicz walked a batter, and the next Blue Devil hit the ball hard. While he was out at first, the other runner advanced to third. With two outs, the Blue Devils’ batter hit a hard, low line drive down the third-base line for a double for an 8-0 lead. Another double brought in two more runs.
In the bottom of the inning, Jacari Roberts hit a double but was left on base when Colby Rhea struck out.
The Blue Devils drove in two more runs in the third and blew the game wide open in the fourth, scoring 10 more runs and kept the Panther offense in check, forcing the game to be called by the run-rule.
Lamar Speight and Gary Albertson each had singles for Liberty.
The Panthers fell to 3-4 overall and 0-1 in the region. Statesboro moved to 7-3 overall and 1-0 in the region.
Moody said the Panthers make take their fair share of lumps this season, as he starts only one senior while averaging three to four freshman starters per game mixed in with some sophomores and juniors.
Liberty will have an opportunity Monday to play for local bragging rights again when it travels to Bradwell Institute.
The two schools battled on the Panthers’ field March 1, when the Panthers won, 9-4.