TIFTON -- At least for one day, the Tift County Blue Devils baseball team could claim the unofficial title as champions of Thomas County.
Playing the Thomas County Central Yellow Jackets and the Thomasville Bulldogs Saturday in the first-ever "Devil Diamond Day", the Devils swept the two games in impressive fashion. Tift defeated TCC 15-5 and came back to beat Thomasville 12-1.
"It was a good day for us. We were able to play everyone, we had good pitching and we hit ball really hard," said Tift coach Rusty Smith.
Tift pounded out five home runs in the two games, including two by Alan Manning.
"We have now won six in row and our bats are beginning to heat up," said Smith.
The Devils' pitching was also in top-form. Justin Deberry picked up the win against TCC, while Blake Wright did the honors against Thomasville.
Deberry pitched four innings, gave up no earned runs, struck out nine and walked one.
In game two, Wright pitched six innings, struck out six, walked one and gave up four hits.
"I am proud of our pitching today. Deberry and Wright threw the ball really well for us," said Smith.
Besides getting the pitching win against TCC, Deberry also hit a first-inning grand slam home run to get the Devils off to a quick start.
Matt Davis (double, home run, three RBIs), Austin Moretz (double, two RBIs) and Manning (home run, RBI) each had two hits to lead Tift at the plate.
Adding one hit each were Wright (RBI), Matt Shurley (RBI) and Lee Caquelard.
Luke Gordon got Tift off to a good start in the Thomasville game. The senior catcher hit a long two-run homer in the first and went on to have a 2-for-2 game with four RBIs.
Adding one hit each were Manning (home run, two RBIs), Davis (RBI), Moretz (RBI), Deberry (RBI), Wright (double) and Jake Richardson.
Even though he did not officially have an at-bat, Bryant Hill added a RBI on a bases-loaded walk in the sixth inning for the Devils.
Tift will face Worth County in Sylvester at 6 p.m. Wednesday. The Devils (8-4) will then participate next weekend in the Coffee Shootout. That will have Tift playing McIntosh and Dacula in Douglas April 4-5.
"We want to keep our momentum going, because we open the region schedule after that tournament in Douglas," said Smith.
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