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Last Updated:   5/14/2011
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Ninth Inning Baseball

All Recaps compiled by Blue Devils Beat Writer Curtis Ramsey

05/19/11 - Blue Devils Tame the Lions, 10-2 - The hometown boys travelled up to historic Bunten Road Park in Duluth to take on the Peachtree Ridge Lions on a pleasant Thursday evening.  Attendees included members of the Nelson Stewart fan club, who were treated to an offensive explosion by the Blue Devils as they compiled 18 hits and 10 runs, stranding 8 runners.

The Blue Devils jumped out to an early lead in the 1st inning, always a good sign, by sending all eleven batters plus one to the plate, with the first 8 batters reaching base safely, scoring 7 runs and amassing 8 hits and 1 hit by pitch by ball magnet Jacob Gassert.  Scoring started on a base hit by Jesse Vaughan scoring leadoff man Zack Walch, followed by an error off the bat of Nelson Stewart scoring Cole Mannion. Chris “Diesel” McNulty then raked a single through the 5 ½ hole scoring Vaughan.  After Gassert’s hit-by-pitch, Graeme Stinson ripped a double into left field scoring Stewart and McNulty.  After Griffin Ramsey laced a single to left-centerfield moving Stinson to 3rd, Jacob “Koop” Koerper hit an apparent sac-fly to straight away center, however Stinson was thrown out at home on a great play by the centerfielder.  Mike Olson then swatted a single the opposite direction to right plating Ramsey.  Then on a somewhat disputed call, Drew Aspinwall hit a line drive, frozen-rope bomb to right centerfield, way over the heads of the outfielders, that bounced up against the fence.  As Olson rounded 3rd and Aspinwall was making his way around 2nd, the centerfielder threw up his hands to signal that the ball had gone under the fence, a ground rule double.  After signaling the ground rule double, and as Mike returned to 3rd and Drew to 2nd, the right fielder reached down and picked up the ball and threw it into the infield.  Hmmm. . . .  That would end the Blue Devil scoring.

Starting pitcher Zack Walch had a little hiccup in the 1st inning, walking the first 2 batters, but then settled in to get the next 3 batters on 4 pitches, allowing only 1 run, to end the inning.

Norcross would tack on 2 more in the 2nd as Vaughan led off with a bloop double down the right field line setting the table for Stewart who absolutely crushed a 3-2 fastball to deep left center field for a hustling triple, scoring Vaughan easily.  McNulty followed with a crisp line drive over the head of the short stop for an RBI single.

After giving up a leadoff single in the 2nd, Walch relied on his defense inducing two groundball fielder’s choice outs at 2nd, and a tapper back to the mound.

After a scoreless 3rd and 4th inning for both sides, the Blue Devils tacked on yet another run in the 5th as they loaded the bases on a trio of singles by Stewart, Gassert and Stinson, and a text book sac-fly to center by Ramsey scoring McNulty who had reached on a fielder’s choice forcing Stewart at 2nd.  And that would end Norcross’ scoring barrage.

The Lions made a futile attempt at a rally in the 7th and final inning, stringing together 3 base hits with 2 outs to score a run, but that would be all they could muster.

The Norcross hit train was led by Nelson Stewart and Chris McNulty who went 3-for-4, and Jacob Gassert and Drew Aspinwall who went 2-for-3.  RBIs were collected by Vaughan, Stewart (2), McNulty (2), Stinson (2), Ramsey, and Olson.  Oddly enough, not a single Norcross batter drew a walk, though Gassert did take one for the team (ouch).

Starting pitcher Zack Walch pretty much cruised after the bumpy 1st inning pitching 4 innings allowing 1 run on 3 hits and 2 walks, earning the win.  Reliever Jesse Vaughan also had an easy go of it pitching 3 innings allowing 1 run on 4 hits and no walks.  Also oddly enough, neither Norcross pitcher had a strike out; rare for this crack pitching staff.

Catch the Blue Devils this Saturday in a day game at home against the pesky North Gwinnett Bulldogs, a team we owe a spanking to.

05/17/11  -  Blue Devils Pound the Falcons, 15-6 - The “Original” Norcross Blue Devil 13U travel team showed up at Pinckneyville Park Tuesday night to take on the Dacula Falcons in front of packed stands, most of which had turned out to sample David Grosswald’s “secret recipe” hamburgers.  One could say that the stands were “buzzing”. [rim shot, cymbal crash]

Tension mounted after the first two Blue Devil batters were retired rather quickly, however with 2 outs in the bottom of the 1st inning, the Blue Devils mounted a 2-out rally that saw every batter in the lineup coming to bat scoring 4 runs.  It all started after Chris “Diesel” McNulty had reached base on a base hit and the Falcon pitcher attempted a pickoff play, throwing the ball down the line into right field, advancing McNulty the 3rd.  Graeme Stinson brought him home on an error by the 3rd baseman.  The rattled pitcher then walked the next 3 batters, the last being Jacob “Koop” Koerper, who picked up an RBI walk scoring Stinson.  Griffin Ramsey hit an RBI single deep in the hole at short stop (the 5 ½ hole) scoring Nelson “Nellie” Stewart”.  Drew Aspinwall cracked a single up the middle scoring Jacob Gassert.

In the top of the 2nd inning, the Falcons staged a rally of their own making, putting together a series of walks and only 1 base hit which left the infield to score 5 runs.  However, the Blue Devils answered in the bottom of the inning scoring 4 more runs, all started by McNulty who absolutely bombed a 2-2 hanging breaking ball to deep left field for a triple, scoring Zack Walch and Jesse Vaughan.  Stinson brought home McNulty on a ground ball out to 2nd base.  After Gassert reached on a hit-by-pitch, his 2nd of the night, Koerper brought him home on an error by the shortstop.

The Falcons were retired in order 1-2-3 in the 3rd and the Blue Devils tacked on 3 more runs in their half.  Mike Olson took a pitch the opposite way for crisp single between 1st and 2nd scoring Ramsey, who had reached on a base hit.  After Walch and Vaughan had reached to load the bases, McNulty hit into the beginning of a 6-4-3 double play, however the 2nd baseman sailed the ball passed the 1st baseman, allowing Olson and Walch to score, putting Norcross up 11-5.

A scoreless 4th inning took us to the 5th inning with time running down, and the Falcons only able to score 1 run on reliever Mike Olson, who was dealing ground ball outs.  Norcross mounted a no-out rally in the bottom of the 5th as the Blue Devils nearly batted around again.  Olson drilled an outside 2-2 pitch that hugged the line passed an outstretched first baseman for a double, scoring Aspinwall.  Walch promptly hit an RBI single to score Olson, and McNulty cracked a 5 ½ hole single to score Walch.  With the bases loaded, Stewart begrudgingly took one for the team as a hit-by-pitch plated Vaughan.  And time ran out before the GGBL mercy rule could be effected.

It was an outstanding offensive night for the Blue Devils as every batter reached base at least twice, 9 out of 10 batters scored at least once, and almost every batter had an RBI.  Leaders were many, including Vaughan and McNulty who went 3-for-4, and Ramsey and Olson who went 2-for-3.

Starting pitcher Graeme Stinson earned the win pitching 3 innings allowing 5 earned runs on 4 hits and 5 walks, striking out 2.  A bizarre 2nd inning was his only blemish as he walked 4 batters and a dinky infield single, with only one batted ball leaving the infield, for the 5 runs.  Reliever Mike Olson was dealing pitching 2 innings, allowing 1 earned run on only 1 hit and 1 walk with no strike outs.

Come catch the Blue Devils in action Thursday night at Bunten Road Park as they take on the Peachtree Ridge Lions.

05/15/11  - Norcross a Case of Jekyll & Hyde, Losing to Buford 2-12 - NEWS FLASH: Norcross, GA – The Norcross 13U travel team has been kidnapped and replaced by imposters.  Team stat tracker and official scorer Scott Walch was overheard saying “Who are these guys?  What happened to the team that played so well Friday night and yesterday?”  Walch’s right hand man and conferring score keeper Pat McNulty replied “I’ve seen this before in a scene from Invasion of the Body Snatchers.  They’re ‘Pod People.’”  [scene ends; fade to black]

On an overcast, cool and breezy late Sunday afternoon, the men in navy blue travelled up to Buford to take on the Wolves.  In what appeared to be a great start, leadoff batters Zack Walch and Griffin Ramsey reached base on infield singles, setting the table for the middle of the order.  However a nicely turned 6-4-3 double play squelched the growing rally, and Norcross settled for 1 run off the bat of Nelson “Nellie” Stewart plating Walch.

Things turned ugly quickly as Buford hung a 6-spot on the board in the bottom of the 1st as the first six batters reached base safely.  And a quick 1-2-3 2nd inning for Norcross batters only made matters worse.

Fortunately, starting pitcher Jacob Gassert regained his composure and sat down the next 3 batters on only 8 pitches, giving some life to the down-trodden team.  After the first 2 Norcross batters were retired in the 3rd, Walch and Ramsey reached base again on infield singles giving a little spark to the Norcross offense, but a nice play by the Buford SS off of Jesse Vaughan’s bat ended the threat.

Relief pitcher Nelson Stewart started off the 3rd a little shaky giving up a single and a hit batsman, but bounced back to strike out the next batter.  Then, on a bizarre play that would typify Norcross’ night, with runners at 2nd and 3rd and one out, Buford laid down a suicide squeeze bunt scoring the runner from third, however on the put out to 1st base, the runner from 2nd also scored with no attempt by Norcross.

The Blue Devils responded well to lead off the 4th inning as Stewart ripped one to left for a single.  Chris “Diesel” McNulty took one for the team and reached on a pitch that grazed his left arm/hand.  Gassert laced one to left for a single which loaded the bases for Jacob “Koop” Koerper who beat out an infield single scoring Stewart.  However, the Blue Devils were unable to push home any more runs and the inning came to end.

Buford would score twice in the bottom of the 4th and the Blue Devils came up in the 5th down 10-2.  Walch reached on a sharp single to left field, but unfortunately the next 3 Norcross batters were retired in order, including 2 strike outs.  Norcross was finally put of their misery in the 5th as the Wolves scored twice, triggering the GGBL run-rule.

This from a Norcross team that had scored 23 runs over their last 3 games.  Perplexing.

Offensively, the team was led by Zack Walch who went 3-for-3 with 1 run scored, Jacob Gassert who went 2-for-2 and Griffin Ramsey who went 2-for-3.  Nelson Stewart and Jacob Koerper picked up the only RBIs of a game in which only 4 Norcross batters had 3 plate appearances, the rest had only 2.

The Blue Devils are back in action Tuesday night at home versus the Dacula Gold Falcons; first pitch at 8:00pm.  The question is:  “Which Norcross team will show up?”  Stay tuned~

05/14/11 - Blue Devils Knot It Up with the Black Knights, 4-4 - The Norcross Blue Devils travelled out to the county seat of Gwinnett County in Lawrenceville to do battle with the Black Knights of Lawrenceville (Central) on cool and breezy spring evening.  Fan representation was sparse for the Blue Devils as those not in attendance missed a good game.

Starting pitcher Zack Walch cruised through the first 3 innings allowing only 1 hit and 1 walk and had retired 6 batters in a row by the end of the 3rd.  A walk, an error and a hit allowed the Black Knights to break through in the 4th, however Walch finished out the 4th still with the lead.

Norcross once again jumped on the board early in the 1st inning.  Walch leadoff with an infield single and promptly stole 2nd base for Griffin Ramsey who rifled an RBI single to left scoring Walch, advancing to 2nd on the throw home.  After Jesse Vaughan drew a walk and a passed ball moved the runners up, Nelson “Nellie” Stewart drove Ramsey home on a groundball to the 2nd baseman.  However, the Blue Devils would leave 2 runners on base to end the inning, and this would once again prove systematic for the Blue Devils throughout the game.

The Blue Devils tacked on 2 more runs in the 3rd as Ramsey cracked a hard line drive dropped by the 3rd baseman to reach safely, setting the table for Vaughan who drilled a 1-1 pitch deep down the left field line into the corner for an RBI triple.  Chris “Diesel” McNulty then spanked a RBI single through the “5 ½ hole” (the area between 3rd (5) and SS (6)) scoring Vaughan.  And that would end the Norcross scoring as the Blue Devils left 8 men on base, 3 in scoring position.

The Black Knights scored 3 runs in the 4th and would score the tying run in the 7th, with the help of a couple of Norcross errors, which took us to some “free baseball” (extra innings).  Norcross threatened in the 8th as Stewart barely missed a home run on a towering fly ball to deep left field, held up by some strong headwinds swirling in the outfield sky.  Stewart settled for a double, however Norcross was unable to get him home.  The Black Knights also threatened as the leadoff batter was hit by a pitch and advanced to 2nd on a tapper back to the mound for the 1st out.  A heads up play by 3rd baseman Stewart nailed the runner on 2nd who had drifted too far away from the bag on a routine grounder for the 2nd out.  After an error allowed the next batter to reach, relief pitcher Vaughan took matters into his own hands and struck the next batter out 1-2-3 to end the inning, and the game.

Offensively, the Blue Devils were led by Vaughan who went 2-for-3 with a walk, a triple, a double (thrown out stretching it to a triple, even though he was clearly safe at 3rd) and an RBI.  Others picking up RBIs were Ramsey, Stewart and McNulty.

Walch pitched 4 innings allowing 3 runs, 2 earned, on 2 hits, 3 walks and striking out 3.  Middle reliever Jacob “Koop” Koerper pitched a respectable 3 innings allowing 1 unearned run on 2 hits, no walks and no strikeouts.  Closer Jesse Vaughan pitched 1 shut out inning allowing no hits, no walks, one hit batsman and 1 strikeout.

The Blue Devils are back in action Sunday at 1:00 versus the Buford Wolves at Buford.

05/14/11  -  Norcross Exacts Revenge Upon Brookwood, 9-5
The Norcross Blue Devils sought to even the score against the Brookwood Broncos at our home field on a warm and muggy Friday night.  As the clouds gathered ominously in the sky overhead, the crowds gathered to fill up the home side bleachers in another outstanding showing of fan support for the hometown sluggers.

Starting pitcher Graeme Stinson was on his game, pitching 4 strong shut out innings allowing only 1 hit and 3 walks while striking out 2 helped out by some strong defense behind him, highlighted by a nifty double play on a caught line drive by 3rd baseman Griffin Ramsey, doubling off the runner at first.

Norcross jumped on the board first in the 2nd inning on a two-out RBI single by Ramsey scoring Nelson “Nellie” Stewart from third who had led off the inning with a ringing double to left center.  The Brookwood pitcher struggled with his control and walked the next 4 Blue Devil batters scoring Ramsey and Drew Aspinwall before ending the inning on a pop up.

Norcross would then add 6 more runs in the 3rd as they batted around the order amassing 5 hits, 1 walk and 1 hit-batsman.  The scoring started on an RBI single by Jacob “Koop” Koerper scoring Stewart.  A wild pitch scored Jacob Gassert and then Ramsey reached base on a bunt single, moving Koerper to 3rd.  Mikey Olsen drew a 5-pitch walk and then Zack Walch laced an RBI single to left plating Koerper.  That brought up Jesse Vaughan who raked a 2-0 pitch down the left field line into the corner, clearing the bases, for a stand-up 3-RBI triple.

That would be all the scoring Norcross would do for the game, but fortunately that was all that they needed as relievers Mike Olson and Jacob Gassert closed the door on the Broncos, again backed up by some strong Blue Devil defense, highlighted by a tricky little unassisted double play by 2nd baseman Aspinwall on a ball blooped up the middle over (or under) SS Vaughan that found its way to Aspinwall standing on 2nd for the force play, and then a quick flip to first to gun down the batter.

Offensively, the Blue Devils were led by Stewart and Ramsey who both went 2-for-3 and scored twice.  Big Man Jesse Vaughan led the team with 4 RBIs, while Walch, Koerper and Ramsey had 1 each.

The Blue Devils travel to Rhodes Jordan Park to take on the Lawrenceville (Central) Knights on Saturday; first pitch at 7:30.

05-10-11 - Blue Devils De-Claw the Wildcats, 10-9 -  Meanwhile, back at the friendly confines of Pinckneyville Park, the Norcross Blue Devils engaged in a scrappy fight with the Duluth Wildcats on a warm Tuesday evening.  Beginning the game a little short-handed, 8 Blue Devils began the fracas awaiting reinforcements from a pack of Wesleyan Wolves player/students attending a mandatory school event.

Starting pitcher Zack Walch held the Wildcats at bay recording 3 quick outs on only 6 pitches for the short-handed defense.  Norcross jumped to an early lead in the bottom of the 1st when Graeme Stinson drew a bases loaded walk scoring Walch, followed by a Griffin Ramsey RBI single up the middle plating Nelson “Nellie” Stewart.

Duluth would finally break onto the board scoring 1 run in the 2nd, while retiring the Blue Devil batters in order, 1-2-3.  Duluth would add 4 runs in a wild 3rd inning taking the lead.  Norcross would add 2 runs in the bottom of the inning on a batted ball error by Chris “Diesel” McNulty plating Jesse Vaughan and Stewart.

After reliever Jacob “Koop” Koerper held the Wildcats scoreless in the 4th, the Blue Devils tacked on 2 more runs when a batted ball error by Cole Mannion scored Ramsey, and a fielder’s choice by Mike Olson scored Mannion.

Duluth would tie it up in the top of 5th, answered quickly by the Blue Devils going ahead by 1 on a check-swing single up the 3rd base line by Ramsey scoring Jacob Gassert.  Duluth would come back and tie it up again in the 6th, while shutting down the Blue Devils 1-2-3 in the bottom of the inning.

That took it to the 7th and final inning all tied, whereby Duluth struck for 2 runs with 2 outs to take the lead.  Down by 2, Stewart led off the inning with a 5-pitch walk followed by a ringing single up the middle by Gassert.  After a pop-up out by McNulty, Stinson ripped a single over the head of the shortstop scoring both Stewart and Gassert to tie the game.  Stinson was retired on high bouncing ball fielder’s choice by Ramsey, who beat out the throw at first.  Ramsey promptly stole second, getting himself in scoring position for Koerper.  With Ramsey on the move to 3rd, Koerper blooped a single over the shortstop plating Ramsey for the winning run.  And the celebration was on . . .

Offensively, the Blue Devils were led by Ramsey going 3-for-4 and Walch and Gassert going 2-for-4.  RBIs were recorded again by the middle to bottom of the order with McNulty (2), Stinson (3), Ramsey (2) Koerper, Mannion and Olson collecting RBIs.

Walch pitched 3 innings allowing 5 runs, 4 earned, on 6 hits and 1 walk while striking out 2.  Koerper pitched 2 innings allowing 1 run on 4 hits and no walks striking out 1. And Gassert picked up the win pitching 2 innings in relief allowing 3 runs on 3 hits and 1 walk while striking out 2.  On deck for the Blue Devils is a rematch with the Brookwood Broncos at home on Friday night.

05-07-2011 - Blue Devils Befuddled by the Broncos, 2-12 -  The Norcross Blue Devils took a turn down the Ronald Reagan Parkway to take on the Brookwood Broncos at Bethesda Park for the first time, a team that had previously played in the AA division of the GGBL. 

The Blue Devils jumped out to an early lead scoring 2 runs in the first as Chris McNulty singled in Zack Walch, who had reached base on a walk, followed by a booming double by Jacob Gassert that scored Jesse Vaughan, who had also reached base on a walk.  However, during the play, McNulty was thrown out at home by a well executed relay throw by the Broncos.  The Blue Devils would load the bases on consecutive walks issued to Graeme Stinson and Griffin Ramsey, however the Blue Devils couldn’t come up with that clutch hit, and left them stranded to end the inning.

This mantra would be indicative of the kind of evening the Blue Devils had as the 2 first innings runs would be all they would score, leaving 11 runners on base, 7 in scoring position.

Starting pitcher Graeme Stinson pitched 2 innings giving up 4 runs, 3 earned, on only 3 hits and one walk while striking out 3.  Middle reliever Cole Mannion pitched 2/3 of an inning allowing 4 runs, 3 earned, on 4 hits, however was forced to leave the game due to an apparent oblique muscle injury, common among big-league players/pitchers.  Relievers Griffin Ramsey and Jesse Vaughan closed out the game for a combined pitching effort of 4 runs on 5 hits and 3 walks, striking out 1.

Offensive highlights include Jesse Vaughan going 2-for-2 with a walk and Drew Aspinwall going 1-for-1 with 2 walks.

The slowly depleting, injury-ridden Blue Devils are back in action Tuesday night versus the Duluth Wildcats at the friendly confines of Pinckneyville Park, a game which will feature only 8 Blue Devil players at the start of the game due to a mandatory Wesleyan School event.

05/05/11  -  Blue Devils Bitten by the Bulldogs, 9-20 -The Norcross Blue Devils travelled up to Suwannee to battle our old arch-enemies, the North Gwinnett Bulldogs, on a cool Thursday evening.  Things started out great with our hometown boys scoring a quick 4 runs in the first inning, followed by an additional 4 in the second, and 1 in the third, while holding the Bulldogs to just 8 over the same stretch of innings.

However, the wheels fell off the bus in the 4th as the Blue Devils failed to score and yielded 5 runs in the bottom of the inning.  With time running out in the 5th inning, the Blue Devils tried to speed things up which only led to a complete dismantling of our defense as the Bulldogs tacked on 7 runs on 8 hits as every batted ball found a hole or a crease and the Blue Devils recorded only 2 outs as time ran out.

Offensive highlights include Nelson “Nellie” Stewart who went 2-for-2 with a walk, and Cole Mannion and Chris McNulty who were both officially 1-for-2 with a walk a piece.  With the 2-for-2 effort, Stewart has reached base in 7 consecutive at-bats, going 4-for-4 with 3 walks.  The middle of the Blue Devil batting order recorded all of the RBIs, McNulty (3), Jacob Gassert (2), Graeme Stinson, Griffin Ramsey and Drew Aspinwall.

The Blue Devils are back in action Saturday night as they take on the upgraded Brookwood Broncos who have previously played in the AA division of the GGBL.

04/29/11 - Blue Devils Fall to the Titans, 4-5-  The Blue Devils travelled back to the ECB Complex, though rumor had it some parents opted to sleep over in the parking lot so as to not be late, to face the East Cobb Titans in the late game Friday night.  The Titans jumped to an early lead scoring 2 quick runs in the first, but the Blue Devils answered back with a run in the bottom of the first when speedy Jacob Gassert scored from 3rd on a dropped third strike passed ball on batter Nelson “Nellie” Stewart, who reached 1st base safely.

Then the game got real interesting as an apparent relative of our very own Marv “Was that a Strike?” Soskin was behind plate with his Magic Eight Ball ball/strike detector, as balls became strikes, and strikes became balls.  As the Norcross fans became rowdy heckling jeers and quips directed toward the men in blue, the ECB Complex concession staff decided to cut-off beer sales early, especially to the fans on the top row of the cheap seats, who would have been throwing rotten fruit, had they remembered to bring it.

After 2 scoreless innings, the Titans scored again in the top of the 4th, only to be answered right away with a Blue Devil run in the bottom half of the inning when Norcross put together back-to-back-to-back singles by Zack Walch, Stewart, and Chris “Diesel” McNulty, who picked up the RBI.

The Titans would score again the 5th, answered again by the Blue Devils when Gassert scored on a fielder’s choice by Walch.  Then again in the 6th, the Titans scored one run, answered by Norcross with McNulty scoring on a fielder’s choice by Drew Aspinwall.

The 7th inning was scoreless by both teams, highlighted by a dazzling, ESPN Web Gem nominee play by shortstop Drew Aspinwall on a sharply hit ground ball back up the middle that careened off of the pitcher’s mound and flew up in the air over second base.  Aspinwall, doing his best Michael “Air” Jordan impression, lept in the air, snagging the ball (with his tongue sticking out) and, while performing a pirouette on his left toe, made an across the body throw to first base, beating the runner by half-a-step.

Norcross starting pitcher Jacob Gassert kept the Devils close giving up 2 earned runs on 3 hits and 2 walks, striking out none, over 3 innings.  Middle reliever Jacob “Koop” Koerper did his job pitching 2 1/3 innings, allowing 3 earned runs on 6 hits and 2 walks, while striking out 2.  Jesse Vaughan closed out the game pitching 1 2/3 innings allowing 1 hit and 1 walk, while striking out 1, and getting Norcross out of a bases loaded jamb with only 1 out by inducing a ground ball to 3rd baseman Stewart who gunned down the runner at the plate, followed by a ground ball to shortstop Aspinwall flipping the ball to 2nd baseman Griffin Ramsey for the third out.

Bracket play starts tomorrow, Saturday, with team and time TBD.

04/28/11 - Blue Devils Scalped by the Braves, 4-8
  -  The hometown Blue Devils faced off with the East Cobb Braves on a cool Thursday evening at the expansive (and oh, so far away) East Cobb Baseball Complex.  This East Cobb Braves team was the team that finished in 2nd place at Cooperstown Dreams Park the week the Blue Devils were there.

The Blue Devils jumped out to an early 1st inning lead scoring 2 runs in their first at bat.  After Sam Grosswald earned a free ticket with a hit-by-pitch, Jesse Vaughan ripped a double off the left-center field wall, advancing Grosswald to third.  However, Sam came up lame on the run to third and would eventually leave the game with an apparent hip-flexor injury.  Zack Walch scorched a line drive single to right center, scoring Grosswald.  Nelson “Nellie” Stewart then crushed an 0-2 pitch high off the center field wall for a double, scoring Vaughan.  However, a pick-off play at second and a strike out ended the Blue Devil threat.  The Braves answered by also scoring 2 runs in their half of the 1st inning.  In the second inning, the Blue Devils scored again after Griffin Ramsey drew a walk, was advanced to 3rd on a fielder’s choice by Graeme Stinson, and scored on an infield single by Drew Aspinwall deep in the hole at short stop.  However, the Braves came back with 2 runs in the bottom of the inning, and went to add on one in each of the 3rd and 4th innings.  The last Blue Devil run came in the 4th after Jacob Gassert reached on a single to deep right-center field, advancing to 2nd on an error by the right fielder.  He was moved to 3rd on a fielder’s choice by Ramsey, and scored on a fielder’s choice by Stinson.

Controversy swirled in the top of the 6th as the Blue Devils loaded the bases with only 1 out.  The Braves pitcher began his wind-up but then quickly stopped and stepped off the rubber, an apparent “balk” move.  Even after much heated debate with flailing arms by the Norcross coaching staff, the umpires seemed unimpressed and refused to reverse their decision.  A quickly turned 4-6-3 double play ended the Blue Devil threat.  After being held scoreless in the 5th, the Braves tacked on 2 more runs in the bottom of the 6th, which ended the scoring.

Norcross starter Zack Walch pitched five innings allowing 6 runs, 4 earned, on 9 hits and 3 walks, while striking out 5.  Reliever Graeme Stinson surrendered 2 hits and a walk, and was quickly relieved by Mike Olson who induced back-to-back-to-back ground ball outs with 2 earned runs being charged to Stinson.  The Blue Devils are back at it Friday night at 8:00pm against the East Cobb Titans.


04/23/11 - Blue Devils Out Duel the Knights 3-2 - In another pitcher’s duel, the hometown Blue Devils squeaked by the Lawrenceville (Central) Knights in the first game of a scheduled double header on a beautiful Saturday afternoon at Pinckneyville Park, witnessed by friends, family, and grandparents, all in town for the Easter weekend. With the hometown bleachers as packed as this writer has ever seen, front row seating was at a premium with grandparents, some from as far away as Cuba City, WI, and an SRO section by the grill. And yes, that was Wisconsin high school basketball legendary coach, Jerry Petitgoue, with over 793 wins, 19 conference titles and 3 state championships, who also happens to be the proud father of team mom, Michele Walch. Norcross starting pitcher Jacob Gassert scattered 4 hits and walked one, while striking out 2, giving up only one earned run over 4 innings. Reliever Jacob “Koop” Koerper was equally effective scattering 5 hits, with no strikeouts or walks, also allowing only 1 earned run over 3 innings. The Knights pitching was just as impressive allowing only 4 hits over 7 innings, however they issued 3 walks, 2 of which led to runs in the 6th inning, which led to their undoing. Heading into the bottom of the 6th inning all tied 1-1, Drew Aspinwall led off the inning with a four pitch walk followed by Gassert also on a four pitch walk. Sam Grosswald sacrificed the runners to scoring position allowing Jesse Vaughan to bring home the go ahead run on a single to left field. Chris “Diesel” McNulty brought home the eventual winning run on a fielder’s choice. The Knights threatened in the top of the 7th by loading the bases with one out. However reliever Koerper induced back-to-back to pop outs to end the game. Norcross hitting was sparse with only Gassert, Vaughan, Griffin Ramsey and Cole Mannion (2B) picking up one hit each, and Mike Olson, Vaughan and McNulty plating the teams only RBIs.


04/23/11 - Blue Devils Fall Prey to the Wolves, 2-9 - In the second game of a day/night double header, the hometown boys looked a little flat and never could quite get it going or gain any momentum against the Buford Wolves. Grillmasters Paul Stinson and Kent Koerper kept the fans happy with culinary delights, including old-fashioned popcorn. Although the Blue Devils out hit the Wolves 8 to 7, Norcross couldn’t deliver that clutch hit to break the game open and stranded 8 base runners, 5 in scoring position. Starting Norcross pitcher Graeme Stinson had one bad inning in the second, allowing 4 runs, all earned, bookended by two good innings in the first and third, allowing only 3 hits, 3 walks while striking out 3. Relief pitcher Zack Walch pitched 2 solid innings of shutout baseball, however the defensive wheels fell off for him in the 6th inning with a couple of infield errors allowing 3 runs to score. Walch allowed 3 hits with one hit batsman while striking out 1, all runs unearned. Final reliever Jesse Vaughan pitched the 7th when again, an error led to 1 unearned run. The offense was led by Nelson “Nellie” Stewart and Chris “Diesel” McNulty, each going 2 for 3, while Vaughan (1 for 3) had the games only double and scored the Devils first run on a fielder’s choice by speedy Jacob Gassert who beat out an attempted 6-4-3 double play in the 4th. Gassert also scored the Blue Devils second run on an RBI single by McNulty in the 7th. The Blue Devils are back in action next weekend with a mid-season tournament, games times TBD.

04/19/2011 -Blue Devils Scratch Out a Win Against the Cats in Extras, 2-1 - Wow, what a game! If you weren’t there, then you missed a doozy. In a classic, good old fashioned pitchers’ duel, Norcross clawed their way back from the brink in a nail biter against our good old friends, and cross-town rivals, Parkview Panthers Tuesday night at the comfortable confines of Pinckneyville Park. With Cooperstown tag-along Marv Soskin behind the plate, and his typical ever-changing, expanding and contracting strike zone, Parkview pitcher Corey Whitlock and Blue Devil pitcher Zack Walch locked horns and matched each other pitch-for-pitch over four shut out innings with Walch throwing only 44 pitches (27 strikes) and Whitlock throwing only 34 pitches (22 strikes). Walch had the upper hand, statistically, allowing only 2 hits, 1 walk and 1 hit batsman while striking out 3 (opp. batting avg. of just .154), versus Whitlock scattering 5 hits and 1 walk, striking out none (opp. batting avg. of .333).

Parkview jumped on the board first manufacturing one run in the top of the 5th inning against Blue Devil reliever Jacob Gassert on an infield single with a runner at third. However Gassert battled back hard setting down the next 6 batters he faced, tossing a two-hitter over 3 innings with no further damage, getting the game to the bottom of the 7th and final regulation inning with Norcross down 1-0. Jesse Vaughan led off the bottom of the 7th with a ripped double down the left field line just past a diving 3rd baseman. That brought up clean up hitter and big bopper Chris “Diesel” McNulty who caught the entire Parkview team (and the Norcross stands) totally off guard with a rare sac bunt placed beautifully up the first base line, nearly beating out the throw, moving Vaughan over to third base. Next up was reliever Jacob Gassert who laced a line drive single through the gap between the 1st and 2nd base, plating Vaughan for the tying run.

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You know what that means? Yep, “Free Baseball”. Extra Innings. In the top of 8th, prior inning hero Jesse Vaughan took the mound getting two quick outs with a strike out and fly-out to perfectly placed Zack Walch in centerfield. However, Vaughan walked the next batter, who barely stole second base with catcher Griffin Ramsey delivering a strike down to second baseman Nelson Stewart who lost his footing and couldn’t apply the tag. Norcross coaching staff elected to intentionally walk the batter, creating a force play at any base for the 3rd out. However a sharply hit ground ball careened off of 3rd baseman Sam Grosswald’s glove, loading the bases. Vaughan answered by striking out the next batter for the 3rd out. Leading off the bottom of the 8th was Graeme Stinson who was walked on 5 pitches. Cole Mannion was asked to lay down a sac bunt, but popped it up to the pitcher who’s hurried throw in an attempt to double off Stinson sailed past the flailing first baseman down the right field line, moving Stinson to 2nd. Griffin Ramsey then roped a screeching line drive single in the gap between 1st and 2nd moving Stinson over to third. Parkview elected to intentionally walk leadoff batter Drew Aspinwall to load the bases and face red-hot hitter Zack Walch who promptly drilled a 1-1 pitch to deep left-center field. Game Over. Whew! The Blue Devils are back at it this weekend with a scheduled double header on Saturday against a much-improved Buford and Lawrenceville (Central) team.

Game Recap by Curtis Ramsey

04/17/2011 -Blue Devils Slay the Titans 11-5 - On a beautiful, picturesque Sunday afternoon at historic Bunten Road Park, the Norcross Blue Devils faced off with the Northview Jr. Titans. Norcross jumped to an early 1st inning lead stringing together four singles, plating 2 runs. In the bottom of the first inning, the “first-game-back-from-spring-break” jitters led to an error, allowing the Titans to score an unearned run. However the Devils would score in each inning after that, plating a total of 11 runs, while allowing the Titans only 5 runs over the time shortened 5-inning game.

Graeme Stinson was once again masterful on the mound, allowing one unearned run on just two hits while striking out 6 batters over 3 innings. Mike Olson and Nelson “Nellie” Stewart each pitched one inning of relief allowing 4 runs, only 2 earned, backed up by some solid Blue Devil defense including Catcher Griffin Ramsey gunning down a Titan “would-be” base stealer and nearly completed 1-6-3 double play (Stewart-Vaughan-Gassert). Offensively, the Blue Devils were led by Nelson Stewart going a perfect 3 for 3 with a booming double to right center, Mike Olson going a perfect 2 for 2, and Zack Walch and Cole Mannion each going 2 for 3 with a double for each. Once again, the RBIs were spread throughout the lineup with Aspinwall, Vaughan, Stinson, Ramsey, Koerper, and Gassert recording 1 RBI each, and Stewart and Olson racking up 2 RBI a piece. The Blue Devils are back in action Tuesday night at 7:30 at home versus the cross-town rival Parkview Panthers.

Game Recap by Curtis Ramsey

03/19/2011 -Devils Clip the Falcons 10-8 - On a beautiful spring evening, the Blue Devils travelled back to Dacula to take on the Dacula Falcons in a one-hour delayed contest. The Devils struck early and often sending ten men to the plate in the first inning scoring five runs in the first, and two in the second. Norcross pitching was effective throughout most of the contest with Graeme Stinson pitching two innings allowing three runs, one earned, on three hits, and Zack Walch cruising through the third, fourth, and fifth inning allowing no runs. However, in the sixth inning, the Falcons made it a contest by hanging five runs on the board on only two hits. Closers Sam Grosswald and Jesse Vaughan each pitched one-third of inning with Vaughan picking up the save. Defensive highlights included the teams’ first 6-4-3 double play of the season, Vaughan to Aspinwall to Gassert, an ESPN highlight shoe-string catch by Centerfielder Mike Olson and Catcher Griffin Ramsey gunning down his first attempted stolen base. Offensively, the hitting was spread out with Sam Grosswald going 2 for 2 with a sac fly, Zack Walch, Jacob Gassert and Griffin Ramsey each going 2 for 3, and Graeme Stinson going 2 for 4. Though not recording a hit, batters Nelson “Nellie” Stewart and Jesse Vaughan recorded five of the seven walks issued by Falcon pitching leading to three runs. RBIs were spread around again with six Blue Devils driving in runs, Walch, Stinson, Vaughan, Grosswald (2), Gassert (3) and Ramsey. Now the Blue Devils have nearly a month off due to varied spring breaks, returning to action on April 17th against the Northview Jr. Titans at historic Bunten Road Park in Duluth.

Game Recap by Curtis Ramsey

03/12/2011 -Devils Best the Angels 10-6 in Another Controversy Filled Contest - Controversy abounds, even at the hallowed grounds of Hebron Church Field in Dacula Saturday night. After completing the last inning of the previously “lighting-malfunction” shortened contest, and “officially” winning that game, the Blue Devils jumped on the Angels early with a first inning run, however quickly fell behind 1-3 after two innings. Jesse Vaughan pitched four solid innings giving the Blue Devils a chance, allowing three runs on seven scattered hits, backed up by some strong, nearly error free, Blue Devil defense. In an unusual, “sly-like-a-fox” move, seldom-used pitcher Nelson “Nellie” Stewart came on in the sixth inning, and allowed only one run on one hit over one and two-thirds innings. However, in the bottom of the seventh and final inning with two outs, Hebron coach Andy Coker lodged a protest that one of Norcross players had yet to enter the game in a defensive position, in apparent violation of GGBL rules. Therefore, in one of the wackiest plays this writer has ever witnessed, Norcross coach Wally instructed 3B Sam Grosswald to hold a routine ground ball and not make an easy force out at third base with SS Drew Aspinwall nearly pushing Sam onto the bag. This allowed Coach Wally to bring in lefty Jacob “Koop” Koerper into the game to record the final out on two pitches. Offensively, the Blue Devils were led by Zack Walch going 4 for 4, Grosswald and Aspinwall going 2 for 3, each getting hit by a pitch, and Griffin Ramsey going 1 for 1 with a walk, laying down a textbook, surprise bunt for a base hit with runners at first and second. Once again, seven different Blue Devils, Walch, Stinson, McNulty, Grosswald, Stewart, Aspinwall (3), and Olson each had RBIs in the game in a well-rounded offensive effort.

Game Recap by Curtis Ramsey

03/11/2011 - Norcross Tames the Wildcats 9-7 - Facing near freezing wind chill temperatures at game time at the renovated Shorty Howell Park, the Blue Devils got off to a slow start Friday night against the Duluth Wildcats staring at a 0-2 deficit after one inning. But then the Blue Devils heated up scoring 3 runs in each of the second and third innings, and one each inning after that. Starting pitcher Graeme Stinson had a shaky start, but settled in over the next two innings giving up only two runs, one earned, on only one hit, striking out six. Closer Zack Walch slammed the door on the Wildcats, giving up only one hit and no runs over two innings, while striking out three batters. Offensively, Stinson and Walch also led the team each going 2 for 3 with one walk a piece, while Chris “Diesel” McNulty went 2 for 4, and Nelson “Nellie” “Stew” Stewart was 1 for 2 with a pair of walks. It was a good all-around offensive team effort for the Blue Devils as six different team members, Walch, Vaughan, McNulty, Gassert, Koerper, and Ramsey, drove in runs..

Game Recap by Curtis Ramsey

03/06/2011 - Practice Cancelled - Todays 1:30pm practice has been cancelled.

03/04/2011 - Norcross Wins Opener - The Norcross Blue Devils opened their GGBL season on Tuesday night with a (lack of) light shortened 4-2 victory over the Hebron Angels. Hebron is coming off a great 2010 season where they lost in the championship series to West Gwinnett in last season's Gwinnett County Championships for the AA division.

With Norcross leading by a score of 4-2 in the top of the seventh inning, Sam Grosswald was all set to throw his 0-1 delivery when the lights went out due to the timer installed by the crack Gwinnett County Parks and Recreation staff. Luckily, Sam was able to hold on to the ball just prior to delivering a "blinding" fastball toward batter, catcher and head umpire.

The game is under review by the league commissioner as it appears at first glance that the game should be declared complete based on the interpretation of the rules by our General Manager John Stewart.

The game featured only 5 hits (all by Norcross) in the entire game. No player had a multi-hit game. The Norcross pitchers were hard to hit but had some control problems as they Walked 9 (1 HBP) and Struck Out 9. Norcross committed two errors leading to 2 unearned runs in the Top of the 6th inning.

Next up for the Blue Devils next Friday night at the Duluth Wildcats (Shorty Howell Park) beginning at 8pm.

02/28/2010 - The Begining of a New Era - The Norcross Class of 2016 begins a new era of coaching as Ninth Inning Baseball coaches their first regular season GGBL game on Tuesday night. The AAA 13U Blue Devils begin their 5th season of action in the GGBL as they host the Hebron Angels at Pinckneyville Park Field #7 begining at 8pm.

02/27/2010 - 13th Player Added as Alternate - Jacob Koerper has agreed to become the teams alternate player and will fill in as needed when the team needs him. Jacob ("Koop") is playing this season at NYO at Chastain Park. He is a left handed batter and thrower and attends GAC Middle School.

2009 Norcross 11U Blue Devils

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