Blue Devil’s baseball team ready for opening day

Published 7:00 am Friday, February 9, 2018

A year after winning the Class 5A state championship, Head Baseball Coach Neil Walther and the Blue Devils are ready to get the 2018 baseball season underway.

Last year, PRC finished the year with a 28-12 record and even though the team finished one game behind Hattiesburg in the final Region 7-5A standings, the Blue Devils defeated the Tigers in the South State Championship series and then defeated Oxford High School in the Class 5A state championship series.

Walther said the team lost only three players this season due to graduation, but two of the players were starting pitchers.

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“Offensively and defensively, we have everybody back and in my opinion we should be a little bit stronger than last year,” Walther said. “The biggest question for us at the moment is seeing who can replace our two starting pitchers from last year.”

Rigell Robinson, a player who earned an extensive amount of playing time during last year’s state championship run is back as a senior for the Blue Devils and looks to be the number one pitcher for the team heading into opening day. Walther said players such as Blake Craft, Austin Dean, Josh Kennedy, Robert Shoemaker, Mason Treat and Landon Williams will have an expanded role this year by contributing on the mound in addition to assuming their primary roles.

Also, senior Josh Kennedy is expected to be the Blue Devils starting second baseman after sharing the position with Cade Lee last year.

Due to rainy conditions over the last couple of days, Walther said the team has been forced to practice in the indoor batting cages. So far, team members are hitting the ball well.

With the realignment of districts at the beginning of the 2017-2018 school year, PRC will face Hattiesburg, Picayune and North Pike High School in the team’s district games this year.

“Every single district game will be tough, I think every game will come down to the last inning and the team who executes better, will end up with the win,” Walther said. “In my opinion, we play in the toughest district in the state of Mississippi. We have faced Hattiesburg in the South State Championship the last two years, North Pike has two pitchers who are Division I caliber and Picayune keeps improving and has good players.”

PRC will begin the season at home Feb. 23, against Hancock County at 7 p.m. and then face Poplarville High School a day later at 1 p.m.

“By having everyone back, we are a year older but we are also a year smarter and we’re ready to play,” Walther said. “The biggest attribute in this team is how everybody plays hard every game and how they never give up. We play in a tough region which means that every pitch is important.”