Last year, the Long County High School baseball team finished the season with a 14-11 overall record and a 9-9 mark in Region 2-AA Region. But even though the team showed promise, doing better than it had in several years, it still missed making the playoffs by one game.
This year, the Blue Tide have a new coach, Tyler Rogers, but still the same hopes.
“My goal for this year is for us to be playing our best ball in April. Hopefully, that will bring us to our next goal, which is the state tournament,” he said.
To accomplish that, Rogers will need his seniors step up and play better than they ever have.
Cody Fleck will pitch, catch and play shortstop, while Tristan Goodro will be in the outfield and the mound. Austin Mills will play in the outfield or catch, Cole Ray will be on the mound or in the outfield, and Austin Simmons will be playing at first base. Rogers expects his seniors to be the leaders on the team, but he also wants juniors Ryan McGowan and Clay Strickland to carry a big load. McGowan will be at third base and on the mound, while Strickland will play in the infield and pitch.
Getting to the playoffs won’t be easy because of the schedule that the Blue Tide plays.
“We play in the toughest AA region in the state. Everyone in the region is tough, day in and day out. You have to bring you’re ‘A’ game, or you could go home with a loss,” Rogers said.
The coach says that his team plays several other quality teams and that each of these games should help his team mature.
“We will be playing single-A Claxton, double-A Dublin, triple-A Tattnall and six-A Brunswick,” he said. “I think this non-region schedule will help us get ready for the battles of Region 2-AA.”
Rogers said his players have been working hard since September and are competitive and willing to hustle to achieve their goals. He also said that the team has been scrimmaging to get ready for the season.
“To put us in a better situation to attain our goals, we have scrimmaged a lot this year … I think this will help us feel more comfortable at the plate and making game-like plays in the field once we get into the season,” he said.
The Blue Tide begin play Monday when they travel to Reidsville to take on Tattnall County at 5:55 p.m. On Tuesday, they have their first home game when Brunswick comes to town. That game starts at 5:45 p.m.