The Long County High School baseball team has made the state playoffs for the first time since 2006.
The Blue Tide beat Groves 15-0 and 16-0 in a doubleheader April 21 in Ludowici to secure the fourth spot in the Region 2-AA standings.
“Our goal was to make the playoffs and, fortunately, we were lucky enough to do that. It’s really exciting,” Long County coach Tyler Rogers said.
Long County (12-14 and 8-6 in the region) will face Fitzgerald in a best-of-three series starting at 4:30 p.m. Friday at the Fitzgerald Recreation Center. A tiebreaking third game, if necessary, will be at 2 p.m. Saturday.
The Purple Hurricane come into the playoffs with a 17-5 overall record and a 16-1 mark in Region 1-AA, where they finished the season as the top seed. According to the MaxPreps.com AA state rankings, Fitzgerald is ranked at No. 9 while the Blue Tide are No. 29.
The other teams that made the playoffs from 2-AA are Benedictine Military School (18-7 overall and 12-2 in region), Bacon County (20-4, 12-2) and Jeff Davis County (18-7, 11-3).
In April 21’s early game, Ryan McGowan got the start and win. The leading Long County batters were Brian Lester and Clay Strickland, who each batted 2 for 3.
In the second game, Long starting pitcher Tripp Stapleton got the win, not allowing a hit. Antonio Golden, Colton Infinger and Lester each went 2 for 2 at the plate.
Last Wednesday, Long County lost 10-4 again this time taking onto Tattnall County in non-region action in Ludowici. Lester got the start and loss, going five innings. Pitching well in limited action was Andrew Swindell, who closed out the game. The leading batters for the Blue Tide were Lester was 3 for 4, Golden was 1 for 2, and Stapleton was 1 for 3.
Last Thursday, the Blue Tide played their last regular-season game, losing to Jeff Davis County 8-2 in Ludowici. Strickland got the start, going 5 1/3 innings and McGowan closed out the game. The leading batters for the Blue Tide were Christian Hall (2 for 3), Jones (1 for 3), Golden (1 for 4) and Lester (1 for 4).
Thursday game’s also was senior night for the Blue Tide with Hall, McGowan and Strickland being recognized.