Blue Devils eliminated from GHSA baseball playoffs

Houston County 5-8, Columbus 4-7

WARNER ROBINS, GA (WTVM) - A pair of seventh inning rallies by Houston County knocked the Columbus Blue Devils out of the GHSA playoffs, as they were swept by the Bears 5-4 and 8-7 in the GHSA Class 5A quarterfinals.

The Blue Devils scored four runs in the fourth inning in the opener to take a 4-2 lead.  But Houston County came back in the final inning to tie the game on a two-run single by Tanner Hall, and win it on a walk-off hit by Austin Hittinger.

Game two was even more heart-wrenching. The Blue Devils snapped a 3-3 tie in the bottom of the sixth with a four-run inning, keyed by an RBI double by Blake Hicks, and runs on an error, a balk, and a wild pitch.

The Bears matched the four runs in the top of the seventh. A fielder's choice force out allowed a run to score on the second out of the inning. Jonathan Brand got Tony Locey to strike out on a pitch in the dirt, but the throw to first base from Hicks hit Locey in the shoulder, and instead of the game being over, a run scored and left the tying runs in scoring position. Ryan Milton followed with a chopper to short. The ball screened partially by a baserunner and it handcuffed Dawson Weaver and two runs came home on the error.

The Bears scored in the eighth inning to win the game and end the Blue Devils' season.

"I tip my hat to my seniors," Blue Devils head coach Chad Mathis said. "They fought. All throughout this playoff series we've gone extra innings. We've overcome some adversity, but today we had to finish and we just came up short.

 “My message to them is basically at the end of the day you've got to know you've given everything to something, and I'm proud of you. These guys are like sons to me, so I just hope they can take what I've taught them in the game of baseball and turn that into life lessons along the way.

The Blue Devils wind up the season with a 25-8 record.