The Long County baseball team’s extra-innings victory Tuesday in Ludowici didn’t come easily, but the effort paid off in the end. The Blue Tide defeated McIntosh County in the ninth inning when Brandon Hope nailed the game-winning hit, allowing Jake Durham to score and secure Long County’s 4-3 win.
"It was a great win for our team. I am very proud of our players, and it was a great night for our team," Tide head coach Brian Thomas said. "Beating McIntosh is a great feat for us because they are one of the better teams in the region this season. However, we have to keep batting and coming together as a team."
The winning pitcher was Bryan Wingate, who pitched the ninth inning. Richard "Rat" Johnson also performed solidly on the mound when he relieved starter Tommy Freeman. Johnson went five and two-thirds scoreless innings, striking out 10 batters.
The Tide’s leading hitters were Durham, who was two for five, and Wingate, who was two for three. Hope was one for four with his game-winning RBI.
With the victory, the Tide is 6-7 overall and 2-5 in Region 2-AA.
The 2-AA standings have Appling County (12-3) on top with a 7-1 record, followed by Jeff Davis (8-6) and Pierce County (6-8) at 5-2, McIntosh (10-7) and Brantley County (8-6) at 4-4, Benedictine (4-6) 3-3, Tattnall County (6-7) 3-5, Long (6-7) 2-5 and Charlton County (5-10). Charlton is still looking for its first region win.
Long County is off for a week, but Thomas isn’t worried about the break. "I feel very good about the makeup of our team going into our spring break, and I think we can carry that into next week," he said.
The Blue Tide’s next game is Tuesday at Pierce County High School. Last year, the teams split their series. But last month, the Bears mauled the Tide, 11-2. However, Pierce County is coming off a disappointing loss to Toombs County.
The game in Blackshear starts at 6 p.m.