Dominating Devils

Published 10:32 pm Wednesday, March 5, 2008

By By Matthew Nascone
None of the current Escambia County High School Blue Devils were playing baseball at ECHS the last time the Devils won the Escambia County Tournament.
On Saturday, the 2008 Atmore Blue Devils brought home the Escambia County Tournament plaque with a 5-4 victory over Flomaton High School. The game completed a perfect run for ECHS and a guaranteed title.
Two games remained in the tournament, but when the Devils (5-3) left the field after junior Michael Thomas crossed the plate in the ninth inning against Flomaton, they knew they were the champs.
"It is exciting for all of us because it has been six years since this team has won it all," ECHS head coach Jonathan Rasberry said. "Anytime you beat T.R. Miller, W.S. Neal and Flomaton in two days, that is going to be a great feeling."
Rasberry said the way the team fought for a victory against Flomaton is what he has been looking for all season. The Hurricanes swept through Atmore earlier this year and Rasberry said he was proud of how the team played.
"We battled back after a couple of errors and won the game in the ninth," Rasberry said. "That game showed so what kind of character, passion and competitiveness we have as a team."
With the bases loaded senior Justin Rolin hit a ball up the middle and the FHS shortstop could not handle it, scoring Thomas for the game-winning run in the bottom of the ninth inning.
Flomaton grabbed a 1-0 lead in the fourth inning and scored three runs in the sixth inning, but ECHS cut the lead to 4-3 with three runs of their own.
Junior Nico Johnson knocked Thomas in for the tying run in the seventh inning. Senior Justin Rolin knocked Thomas in for the win in the ninth. Rolin finished the game 2-for-5. Thomas was 2-for-4 with two runs scored, two RBIs and one walk. Sophomore Bryant Chambers was 2-for-4.
Freshman Marshall Rolin started the game on the mound and allowed three hits in five innings, but also had five walks and no strikeouts.
Thomas was named MVP of the tournament. He was 8-for-12 at the plate with two home runs, nine RBIs and six runs scored. He also pitched the final four innings against Flomaton and allowed no runs on three hits.
Juniors Eric Coley and Cody Vickrey, Chambers and Marshall Rolin were selected to the all-tournament team.
"Eric Coley played well and caught all 23 innings for us," Rasberry said. "He did a good job in the three hole for us. All teams had to pitch around him and that left opportunities open for the other guys."
Blue Devils 11 W.S. Neal 6
The first game of the day on Saturday saw the Blue Devils beat the W.S. Neal Eagles 11-6. Neal opened the scoring with one run in the first inning. Atmore tied the score at 1-1 in the bottom of the inning.
Neal scored two runs in the third inning and Atmore tacked on nine runs to grab a 10-3 lead. The Eagles cut the lead to 10-6 with three runs in the sixth and Atmore added one in the sixth for the final of 11-6.
Thomas was 3-for-4 and was a triple shy of the cycle with one home run, one double, one single, four RBIs and two runs scored. Vickrey went 2-for-4 with one RBI. Marshall Rolin was 2-for-4 and sophomore Hayden McGill was 2-for-3 with two runs scored and one RBI.
McGill (2-1) also picked up the win on the mound, allowing six runs on four hits. He struck out three batters and walked four.
Blue Devils 11 T.R. Miller 3
Atmore scored three runs in the fifth inning, nine in the sixth and two in the seventh for an 11-3 win over the rival T.R. Miller Tigers Friday night.
Thomas was 3-for-4 with one home run, two runs scored and three RBIs. Coley was 2-for-3 with one double, one run scored and two RBIs.
Chambers, senior Elliot Faircloth and Marshall Rolin were 2-for-4. Chambers and Faircloth had two RBIs and Rolin had one. Chambers added three runs scored.
Vickrey (1-2) threw a complete game for the win, allowing three runs, two earned, on four hits. He had six strikeouts and no walks.
Up next for the Blue Devils is a doubleheader at home against Hillcrest-Evergreen Friday. First pitch is set for 4 p.m.

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