Devils mid-season report

Published 7:41 pm Wednesday, March 18, 2009

By By Chandler Myers
Fourteen games into their 28-game regular season, the Escambia County Blue Devils find themselves with a 4-10 record, which is not a place that first-year head coach David Hill wants his team to be.
The Blue Devils (4-10, 0-3) wrapped up the half-way point of their season on Saturday with a 10-8 loss to the Spanish Fort Toros.
Hill said the season has been frustrating for him and his team. He added he keeps telling his team not to quit.
In the Blue Devils’ game against the Toros on Saturday, ECHS went up 2-0 before giving up 10 unanswered runs to the home team. Most teams would have called it quits, but the Blue Devils attemped to put together a comeback in the sixth and seventh innings scoring six unanswered runs to make the loss closer at 10-8.
Hill said the season has been a routine for starting slow and finishing strong or starting strong and finishing slow.
In 14 games, the Blue Devils are averaging 6.1 runs per game (86) but are allowing 7.5 runs (105), which adds to Hill’s frustration.
As a team, ECHS is hitting .292 with an on-base percentage of .390.
Hill said several players have played well through the course of the season with more stepping up in the last few games.
Blue Devils pitcher Haden McGill is the team’s leader on the mound with a record of 3-2 on the season. McGill has pitched 30 innings giving up 30 runs (19 earned), 29 hits and 19 walks in facing 110 batters. He has struck out 20 opponents and has an ERA of 4.43.
Hill said McGill has had a great level of play all season long.
Pitcher Justin Stabler is a right-hander that keeps the ball in the strike zone for the Blue Devils. Stabler (0-1) has an ERA of 6.22, but has only pitched nine innings. He has given up eight earned runs in facing 45 batters.
Hill said Stabler strength is putting the ball into the strike zone where his teammates can make a play.
On the offensive side the Blue Devils are led by Marshall Rolin’s .373 batting average. Rolin is 19-for-51 on the season, which gives him the team-high in hits, at-bats and he leads ECHS with 16 runs.
Hill said Rolin is a force for the Blue Devils when he steps to the plate.
Blue Devils captain Eric Coley had been in a slump the last few weeks, according to Hill, but he is apparently coming out of it.
Coley is currently hitting .250 (11-for-44), but he leads the team with two home runs.
Hill said Coley is constantly working to improve his hitting. Coley went 2-for-3 in Spanish Fort.
Nick Flowers is the leadoff batter for the Blue Devils, and Hill said he fits that role well.
Flowers is hitting .333 (15-for-45) with 13 runs, nine walks and an on-base percentage of .444.
Hill said Flowers is a good player to have in the leadoff spot because of his ability to get on base.
Ryan Linam has surprised Hill with his exceptional play at the plate. Linam is hitting .297 (11-for-37) with a team-leading 13 walks.
Hill said Linam has stepped up his performance this season.
ECHS has only lost one player to injury with Devante Brown going down for the season with a hip injury he suffered in the county tournament.
At the time of his injury, Brown was hitting .391 (9-for-23) with an on-base percentage of .462 and four runs scored.
Hill said losing Brown has hurt the team because of the production he was contributing.

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