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Blue Tide makes a game of it against state-ranked Toombs County High
Tide pitcher Shawn Mills (7) came in as reliever Friday night when Long County faced Toombs County. Despite a game effort by Mills and the rest of the Blue Tide team, they came up short, losing to the No. 4 team in the state 4-2. - photo by Photo by Mike Riddle

The Long County High School baseball team lost 4-2 to Toombs County High Friday night. Though the Tide lost, they showed they could play with one of the top teams in the state.

The Bulldogs came into the game as the fourth-ranked Class AA team in Georgia, according to the most recent Coaches Poll.

The Tide, on the other-hand, entered the game coming off their worst performance of the year in a shut-out loss to Pierce County.

Playing in Ludowici, the Tide had Luke Golden on the mound, facing the team from Lyons. Through three and a half innings, the sophomore showed his best stuff. Going into the bottom of the fifth, the game was still scoreless.

In the bottom of the fifth, with two outs on the Tide, Austin Middleton stood at second and Jonathon Flynn was at third with Golden up to bat. The Bulldog pitcher walked Golden, loading the bases. With Shawn Mills at the plate a wild pitch brought Flynn in and advanced the other runners. Mills struck out.

The Bulldogs showed why they are one of the best teams in the state in the sixth, scoring three runs.

In the top of the seventh Toombs added another run to extend the Bulldogs lead to 4-1.

In the bottom of the seventh, Blue Tide senior Chris Stock led things off with a hit to center-field.

Fellow senior Brian McManus followed up with a walk to put Long County base runners at first and second with no outs.

But Golden and relief-pitcher Shawn Mills struck out. So the game fell on the shoulders of Jacob Turner.

Another wild pitch let Stock score, narrowing the game to 4-2. On the next pitch, Turner hit a grounder and was thrown out at first, ending the Tide’s hope for an upset.

Blue Tide coach Brian Thomas said the difference in the game was that Toombs played with more intensity and efficiency than his boys. Despite the loss, Thomas was pleased with his team’s performance.

"They (Blue Tide) put up a good effort and they were disappointed with the loss. So that’s good because it lets you know they care. Tonight’s game also was good in that we showed that we could play with any team in the state," Thomas said.

Thomas also praised Golden’s pitching. The sophomore did suffer the loss, but he pitched a solid 5-2/3 innings, the coach said. Ryan Davis got the win for the Bulldogs.

The loss dropped the Tide to 3-6 overall and 0-4 in Region 2-AA. The team will be back on the diamond Monday in Hinesville, facing Bradwell Institute. The Tigers come into the game with a 3-2 record, and have outscored their opponents 21-3 in their last two outings. But the Tide has never been intimidated by the 3-AAAAA school, having won four of their last 5 meetings.

"We want to take the same focus and intensity that we had into tonight’s game, and carry it into the Bradwell game on Monday," Thomas said.

The game begins at 5 p.m.

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