Blue Devils split with Spalding to force one game for GHSA title

COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - The Columbus Blue Devils overcame a rough 18-1 opening game loss in six innings to Spalding to win the second game 12-2 in five innings on Monday and force a deciding third game with the Jaguars in the GHSA Class AAA Finals.

Will Solomon gave up just two runs on five hits and struck out seven in his five innings of work to give the Blue Devils a chance to even things up.

The CHS bats delivered. Pierce Ressmeyer had a two-run single and Anthony Padron an RBI double in a six-run third inning. The Devils added three more runs in the fourth, and Kyle Carter added the coup de grace with a three-run homer, his 22nd of the season, in the fifth inning.

The opening game was just plain ugly for the Blue Devils (29-9). Spalding (32-4) scored twice in the third, but broke the game open with a seven-run fifth and a nine-run sixth inning.

The Devils were determined to turn things around and extend their season after the game one debacle, and they did just that. "We just came out and we knew we didn't want to lose," Padron said. "We wanted to win the championship and we thought we'd fight, fight and fight as long as we could, so that's what we did.

Game two winning pitcher Will Solomon echoed Padron's resolve. "We've had some tough games coming through and I just had to do what I had to do."

For head coach Bobby Howard, it was all about strength of character. "I was proud of the way our guys came back and didn't let it affect us," Howard said. "I told 'em 'Bad news: we got the heck beat out of us. Good news: it only counted one game.'"

And now it comes down one game for all the marbles. First pitch on Tuesday is set for 4:30 pm ET at Randy Jordan Field.