Blue Devils motivated after missing region title - WRBL

Blue Devils motivated after missing region title

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The Columbus Blue Devils are in unfamiliar territory.

The two-seed.

Columbus did not win the region title for the first time since 2002, but they did make the playoffs, and they are playing at home. The Blue Devils will host River Ridge in the first round, beginning on Friday.

“We think the future’s bright,” said head coach Bobby Howard. “We did’t win the region [for the first time since] ’02, so it’s been a long time. It’s a different mindset, but I like our chances.”

Columbus has had to grind through injuries this year, most notably to preseason number-one starter Will Bice, who made just three starts after tearing his quad earlier this season. He was cleared to play the field and pitch on Wednesday.

“Through the middle of the season, our bats weren’t very hot, but they definitely started to heat up towards the end,” Bice said. “I definitely think the two wins against Parkview and Marist were big for us heading into the playoffs to give us that momentum.”

Columbus ended the regular season with wins over the two national powers.

Howard said Bice and left-hander Cason Greathouse will start the first two games on Friday, but he hasn’t decided which order. Whoever goes in game one will be tasked with continuing a run of pitching that has gotten the Blue Devils to where they are now.

“We feel like we need to get our hitting up,” said senior second baseman/relief pitcher Will Kilgore. “We can’t score just enough in the playoffs. Nothing is ever safe, but our pitching has helped us all the way through, and we feel like we can continue to rely on that.”

“Some parts of the year we’ve struggled with hitting,” said junior infielder Alonzo Jones, Jr. “In the past couple of games, we’ve improved on that, and our pitching has been solid all year, so we’re just going to keep that rolling.”

The underlying theme after not winning region is making up for that disappointment.

“We were pretty bummed about not winning region,” said senior catcher Nick Poskey. “Now we feel like we have something to prove. We’re just feeling pretty good about ourselves.”

The best-of-three series with River Ridge begins with a doubleheader Friday. Game one is scheduled to begin at 2:00 p.m. ET. If necessary, game three would be Saturday at 2:00 p.m. ET.

Jonathan Huskey

Jonathan comes to News 3 from Fort Smith/Fayetteville, Ark., where he anchored weekends and reported during the week on some of the best high school sports in the state. More>>

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