Blue Devils take early leads in 3A playoff series

Published 6:01 am Sunday, April 24, 2016

WATER VALLEY — An important 5-2 victory over the Hatley Tigers on Friday at Lady Devil Field gave the Blue Devils of Water Valley momentum heading into Game 2 of the teams’ first-round series in the MHSAA Class 3A softball playoffs. The series concluded after press time Saturday at Hatley.

Water Valley coach Casey Clouse was pleased with the overall performance Friday but said her team needed to focus on its hitting.

“We need to be patient in the box and wait for the right pitch,” Clouse said. “We hit the ball well late in the game, but we need to do it earlier in the game (Saturday).”

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Water Valley pitcher D.J. Douglas had six strikeouts and managed to hold the Hatley offense to seven hits and only two runs. Clouse did not forget to give the Devils’ defense some praise, holding Hatley scoreless through the first three innings.

“We wanted to play solid defense coming into this game and we did,” she said. “It helps the pitcher did a good job as well.”

Water Valley had an impressive five-run fifth inning that the Tigers could never recover from. Taylor Anne Trusty had in impressive offensive outing, driving in two runs off a single hit down the left basepath. The Blue Devils hoped to start off strong Saturday and continue to push through the playoffs.

“We need to take it one game at a time,” Clouse said.

Clement lifts baseball
Just on the other side of the school, the Water Valley baseball team faced Booneville in its 3A playoff opener. It was a defensive clinic as the Blue Devils won 3-2 with pitcher Cooper Clement recording 10 strikeouts.

Water Valley coach Kary Bridges, although happy with the win, knows his Blue Devils have a tough series ahead of them. Game 2 was played late Saturday.

“It wasn’t our best performance of the year, and that goes credit to their pitcher,” Bridges said.

While Booneville’s pitching may have been good, Water Valley was better. Clement held Booneville to only two runs along with sending batter after batter back to the dugout throughout the game. The 10 strikeouts along with a strong defensive outing helped Water Valley secure Game 1 at home.

“We had an idea of what we had to do to win, and to be honest, we didn’t do some of those things,” Bridges said. “We need to be more patient in the box, stay with our approach and pitch the exact same. We’re not sure how games are going to be won or lost. We’ve been offensive this year, and tonight we weren’t. They are a formidable challenge, so we will have to get after it.”