The Long County High School softball team’s season came to an end on Wednesday as they lost a best of two-out-of-three series to Berrien County in the first round of the state playoffs. According to Lady Tide Head Coach Brian Thomas his team lost to the Rebels 8-0 and in the first game and then 3-0 in the second game. The games were in Nashville.
In the first contest Harley Dawson threw for three innings giving up four hits, four runs of which two were earned, walked three, and struck out seven batters. In relief action Caitlyn Wingate threw one inning giving up three hits, four runs, walking one, and striking out one batter. The leading batters for Long County in the early game was Alyssa Anderson who went one for two, and Madalyne Flynn and Dawson who each went one for three at the plate.
In the second game Dawson went all seven innings striking out five batters, while walking six batters, and giving up three runs or which one was earned. Flynn was the leading batter in that game going two for three, while Taylor Poole and Wingate both were one for three.
Though Thomas was disappointed that his team lost the series he still said that he was proud of the girls and all that they had accomplished.
“I thought this was an incredible year for us, this was the first time that our softball program has made the state playoffs in eight years and the first time ever in the AA.”, said Thomas. “These girls were resilient all season, I am so proud of them, they have been a complete joy to coach, and I am blessed to have been able to coach them.”
Thomas also said that this group of seniors were a special class and that they were a major reason for the success of the team.
“I really want to place a special point of emphasis on my seniors this season, they were the driving force that rejuvenated Long County softball. These ladies committed themselves to getting better by coming to off season practices, summer softball games in one hundred degree heat, and summer weightlifting, we never would have gotten so far without their sacrifices”, said Thomas.
Athletic director Karen Swindell also had praise for the team and the coaching staff.
“I am very proud of our Lady Blue Tide softball team, it was a great season with a great group of girls and some great coaches; this was a team with a lot of seniors who will be hard to replace next year”, said Swindell.
“These coaches have worked countless hours with our team to get them where they are today…thanks to the coaching staff for their hard work and dedication to the softball program”, said Swindell.
With the losses Long County ended their season with a 14-16 overall record and an 8-6 mark in the 2-AA Region. As of Thursday the Lady Tide were ranked at #20 in the state according to MaxPreps.com. Swindell said that this team accomplished a lot, but she believes that next year’s team can be just as good.
“We are looking forward to next year because we still have Harley Dawson on the mound, who I think was the best pitcher in the region, and we also have Katie Estill, Caitlyn Wingate, and Rylie Poppell who were starters this season; I’m sure with these girls leading the team, we will continue to build on the groundwork of this season”, said Swindell.