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June 14, 2014

Tift’s boys of summer near and far

TIFTON — The prep baseball season and the school term ended a month ago, but for coach Kyle Kirk and his Tift County Blue Devils, it seems that action is just getting started. The Devils, who will be rebuilding after losing nine seniors from their sweet 16 season, are both near and far.

Kirk said several of his players are out of town — "most of my guys are playing up in Atlanta," he said — but for two of his recently graduated seniors, Deviner McCray and Alex Abbott, that is a bit further than north Georgia.

Abbott, drafted by the Los Angeles of Anaheim, signed Friday with the team and will report to his minor league assignment.

McCray is spending his summer with the Ohio Warhawks, a team based out of Spingfield, before he moves on to Gulf Coast State College in Florida, where he has a scholarship waiting for him.

The Warhawks are no stranger to recent player success. Their all-time alumni includes Freddie Freeman of the Atlanta Braves and Brandon Phillips of the Cincinnati Reds and they claims to have had three players selected in the first round of this year's Major League Baseball draft.

Kirk said the invite north came after scouts saw him pitch in the Georgia Dugout Club Senior All-Star Games at the end of May. The Warhawks would end up being a change in plans, as McCray had originally planned to play in the Heartland Classic in Oklahoma this week.

McCray reported to Ohio earlier this month. Their schedule runs through July 21 and the Pastime World Series, according to the team's website.

Even with several of his players away from home, Kirk and the Blue Devils are keeping busy. They are in the middle of summer ball season and he is getting a chance to get better acquainted with his younger players.

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