Long County 5 Charlton County 0
Long County got the 2020 baseball season started with an impressive shutout victory over Georgia Class A 5th ranked Charlton County Monday night in Ludowici. The Blue Tide used three different pitchers to blank the Indians in the season opener.
Starter Noah Kuhaneck set the tone early in the contest by striking out five of the first six batters he faced, on his way to a dominate line of 4 innings pitched allowing just 1 hit, 1 walk and striking out 7. The game remained scoreless until the bottom of the 5th, as the Blue Tide used five singles to push across the game’s first 4 runs. In the inning, Carlos Cruz delivered an RBI single and Allen Crystal drove in 2 more with a single. After 5, the Tide led 4-0.
Meanwhile, the Tide pitching and defense kept the Indians off the score board. Relievers Trevor Ray and Ethan Williams, with the help of their defense, never let the visitors mount any serious threats the rest of the way. Charlton County finished the night with just 5 baserunners on 3 hits and 2 walks.
The Tide added the 5th and final run of the contest on an RBI single in the bottom of the 6th by Ethan Williams. The Tide were led by TJ Criswell (2-3, 1R) and Allen Crystal (1-3, 2RBI.) Williams and Carlos Cruz each added a hit and an RBI.
On the mound, Trevor Ray (2IP, 2K, 1BB) and Ethan Williams (1IP, 2K) provided the Tide with all the relief they would need combining for 3 scoreless innings.
Long County 9 Atkinson County 6
The following night, Long County made the long Tuesday night trip to Pearson to take on the Atkinson County Rebels. And although the Blue Tide didn’t play the nearly flawless game they did the night before at home, they still found a way to make the late-night trip back to Ludowici with another win to run their record to 2-0 on the young season.
The Rebels took an early 1st inning lead on a double by pitcher M. Jordan. The Blue Tide would even the score at 1 in the top of the 3rd when junior center fielder TJ Criswell grounded out to short, scoring Senior 1st baseman Carlos Cruz who had reached on an error and advanced to 3rd on a single by junior 3rd baseman Trevor Ray.
The Rebels would reclaim the lead in the bottom of the inning thanks to an uncharacteristically sloppy effort by the Blue Tide defense. Atkinson County earned 1 double and 1 walk in the inning, but the visitors form Ludowici handed the home team 3 unearned runs with 2 errors and a passed ball. The score remained 4-1 Rebels until the top of the 6th inning.
In the top of the 6th, the Rebels returned the favor defensively, as the Blue Tide were able to plate 7 runs on just 1 hit. The Rebels committed 3 errors in the inning and allowed a passed ball while walking 2 more. After Long County had taken a 6-4 lead without the benefit of a hit, Allen Crystal provided the lone hit of the inning with a long 2 run homerun to right to cap the scoring. It was the 1st homerun in Crystal’s high school career.
The Tide would add 1 more run in the top of the 7th on a double by sophomore DH Joseph Cammack, scoring sophomore LF Dwayne Rowe. The Rebels comeback attempt in the bottom of the 7th fell short as the home team put together 3 singles and a HBP to score 2 runs in the frame before Tide reliever Trevor Ray was able to put the fire out.
Luke Wells started on the mound and pitched well going 2.2 innings (3H, 1BB, 3K, 1ER.) Criswell (2.1IP, 2H, 6K, 0ER, 3BB) and Ray (2IP, 3H, 2ER, 1K, 1BB) finished up for the Blue Tide.
Offensively the Tide were led by Allen Crystal (1-4, 1HR, 2RBI.) Junior SS Ethan Wells, Cammack, and Ray each added a hit each. Cammack and Criswell provided an RBI apiece, and Dwayne Rowe and Carlos Cruz both scored 2 runs.