April 29, 2016

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Devils stay perfect in region play

WATER VALLEY — Water Valley’s offense backed a solid start from Kenny Goolsby, and the Blue Devils remained unbeaten in Region 2-3A play with an 8-1 win over Independence at Blue Devil Field on Friday.

Water Valley (15-3, 4-0 Region 2-3A) started fast and never let up to finish the regular-season sweep of the Wildcats, whom the Blue Devils beat on the road Tuesday in the teams’ first meeting. Water Valley pounded out 13 hits Friday.

“It was one of those efforts that we pitched real well, but we swung the bats real well,” Water Valley coach Kary Bridges said. “We made it easy on any pitcher. We just had runners on base and were just tough outs all night. Very proud of both sides.”

The Blue Devils pushed one run across in the first, two more in the second and another in the third, which was plenty of support for Goolsby. The junior southpaw hurled a three-hitter while walking just one, getting ahead of most batters to repeatedly set up his curveball on his way to eight strikeouts in the win.

“What he’s done to take a big step forward this year is he’s been able to throw his fastball and changeup at times for strikes, so now he’s really able to use (the curveball),” Bridges said. “Sometimes he buries it and gets a lot of swings and misses that guys might not be swinging at if we weren’t ahead in the count.”

Austin Smith went 3-for-4 while Donovon Gaston, Ty Varner and Brian Willhite each had two hits for Water Valley. Varner and Willhite each drove in two runs, and Cooper Clement capped the scoring with a two-run double in the sixth.

Hunter Powers took the loss for Independence, allowing six runs on nine hits in the first five innings.

Saturday

The Blue Devils split a pair of road games Saturday, knocking off Strayhorn 12-1 in five innings before falling to Lake Cormorant 6-1. Water Valley will stay on the road Tuesday for a region game at Charleston at 6 p.m.