After a scorching 3-0 start to the season, the Long County softball team cooled off a bit, going 2-3 over its last five games.
Long County’s winning ways continued Aug. 11 as the Lady Blue Tide crushed St. Vincent’s Academy 12-0 in Ludowici. The Lady Tide jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning and never looked back, securing their first 2-AA Region win of the year.
Pitcher Harley Dawson struck out 10 batters enroute to her first no-hitter of year.
The leading batters for Long County were:
• Bailey Harrison, who went 3 for 3 with four RBIs;
• Makaylee Fowler, who was 2 for 2 with two runs scored;
• Dawson, who was 2 for 2 with a walk; and
• Hannah McGowan and Caitlyn Wingate, who both went 2 for 3.
“I thought that we played well today,” Blue Tide head coach Brian Thomas said after the win. “Harley threw the ball well, and Bailey Harrison did a great job behind the plate for her.”
Long County faced Brunswick in a non-region game in Ludowici the next day. Though the home team played well, the Lady Pirates were too much for the Tide, winning 9-4. Wingate went the distance in the loss, giving up 10 hits and nine runs. She walked three batters and struck out five.
Though Wingate struggled on the mound, she had a good day behind the plate, going 2 for 3. Other notable batters were Katie Estill and Rylie Poppell, who both were 1 for 3. Though Long County lost the game, Thomas said playing good teams would only make his team better.
“I enjoy playing good-quality non-region opponents like Brunswick,”
Thomas said. “Playing them gets us better for region play. They are a solid team, and we wish them good luck the rest of the season.”
The Lady Tide lost their first region matchup of the year Aug. 13, falling 5-3 to Bryan County in Ludowici. Dawson went all seven innings on the mound, giving up four hits and five runs. She struck out 12 batters and walked three. The leading batter for Long County was Harrison, who went 1 for 3 and slammed in a big three-run home run.
“Bryan County did an outstanding job defensively,” Thomas said. “They took advantage of a few of our mistakes, (but) I thought that we fought really hard all the way up to the last pitch. We will take what we learned and get better from it.”
On Aug. 18, Long County lost another region matchup, this time to Jeff Davis County. The Lady Tide lost to the Lady Yellow Jackets 4-0 in Hazlehurst, being shut out for the first time this season.
The next day, the Tide rebounded with a stellar outing to beat Savannah Country Day 13-1 in five innings. Playing in Savannah, the Lady Tide’s Dawson was on fire, striking out 10 batters in four innings. Dawson only allowed two hits and one run while on the mound. Coming in to close out the game for Long County was Wingate, who gave up no hits or runs while striking out one batter. Wingate also was the leading hitter for the visiting team, going 3 for 3 and scoring two runs. Other notable batters for the Lady Tide were Malaka Elix, who went 2 for 4 with two RBIs, and Fowler, who was 2 for 2 with one run scored.
“This was a good team win for us,” Thomas said. “I was very proud of our girls for dealing with the heat and getting off the bus focused and ready to play.”
The coach also expressed pride in Ravea Rose, Makenzie Pattison and Amira Kuhaneck, who notched their first hits as varsity players.
“It’s always good to go ahead and get that pressure off early in the season,” Thomas said.
The Lady Tide now sit at 5-3 overall and 1-2 in the region.
On Monday, they are back at home, facing Liberty County for the second time this year.
When the two teams met two weeks ago, Long County won 5-1 in the non-region game. The first pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m.