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The Holmes County baseball team was sent off to Fort Myers on Monday afternoon, preparing for their second consecutive Class 1A State Semifinals appearance.

The Blue Devils fell to the eventual state runners-up Chipley in the Final Four last season, but Holmes County senior right fielder Trent Pilcher said they’re coming back with a vengeance.

“I feel good,” Pilcher said. “We’ve been swinging the bat really well, we’ve been playing good defense, pitchers have been throwing the ball good, and just last year’s experience left a bitter taste in our mouth and we’re ready to get back for blood.”

The Blue Devils graduated just four seniors in 2021, returning a load of talent, and senior pitcher Colby Jones said that experience will help them on the big stage.

“We’ll be more experienced, it won’t be as like, it’s going to be a big game but I feel like we’ll all have the nerves down and all of that,” Jones said. “We’ll be ready to play because we were there last year, we’ve got to act like we’ve been there before. But yeah, we’ve got a lot of confidence going into the game.”

Hundreds of Holmes County High School, Middle School, and Elementary students waved and cheered as the team departed the high school on Monday afternoon, and the seniors said the support gives them more motivation to bring home a championship.

“It’s always good to look back and see that home crowd out there,” Pilcher said. “Even that far away from home, it just feels good, it just gives you the support and comfort.

“We’ve got a lot of people out here behind us and I feel like there’s going to be a lot of people traveling down here honestly,” Jones said. 

“But this year, I will say that our fan base this year has been top-notch, probably better than it has been the past three years, everybody is behind us because they know what we’re capable of, so we’re going to try and get the job done.”

The Blue Devils hold a 22-7 recording heading into the state semifinals but will be without one of their top pitchers Hayden Revels, sidelined with a frightening injury.

“They’ve been throwing the ball really well,” Pilcher said. “I mean Colby, he’s the best pitcher I’ve ever played with, and the younger guys, we’ve been left with two younger guys since Hayden Revels, he got that blood clot in his arm and can’t play, so the two younger guys they’ve really stepped it up a notch, they’ve been throwing the ball really well.”

Jones said that the team is playing for everyone back home, but especially their teammate who can’t play.

“Hayden Revels, we’re going to bring it home man,” Jones said.

Two seed Holmes County will take on Fort White in the Final Four on Wednesday in Fort Myers at 7 p.m., EST, 6 p.m. CST.

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