What looked like a sure win for the Long County High School softball team turned into a washout Tuesday afternoon at Liberty County High School.
The Lady Tide (4-2 overall, 1-2 region) led 10-0 in the bottom of the fifth inning and had two outs against Liberty when torrential rain forced officials to call the game before the inning was completed.
The teams did their best to continue the game, which had been stopped in the third inning for lightning. The girls, at least, seemed to be enjoying themselves during the 10 minutes of downpour play before another round of approaching lightning nixed the remainder of the inning and stopped the game.
The coaches have yet to set a date for a rematch. Earlier this season, Long County beat Liberty 11-3.
The unfinished game erases solid performances by Blue Tide hitters and freshman pitcher Harley Dawson.
“Since the game technically wasn’t official those stats are void,” Lady Tide coach Brian Thomas said.
Dawson had back-to-back strikeouts and was on a streak when the weather ruined her game. She is one of two freshman pitchers to start for the Blue Tide varsity.
The other is freshman Caitlyn Wingate. Thomas said Dawson shares traits with former Lady Tiger pitcher Kayla Mills, who is now at Middle Georgia College.
“I think that there are several similarities in Harley and Kayla Mills,” Thomas said. “Both came in as freshmen and were expected to log a lot of innings on varsity. The difference is that we have Caitlyn Wingate that has pitched for us as well. Harley and Cat both have good poise and control out in the circle. With that 1-2 punch, we are looking at a bright present and an even brighter future.”
Hitting was another bright spot for the Blue Tide. Long County went up 1-0 in the first. And Alissa Anderson nailed a double near the back fence to score two runs in the second inning.
In the third inning, Dawson got a base hit and Erica Golden hit one toward Liberty County third baseman Gabriela Anthony. Anthony was able to stop the ball but overthrew first base, placing Dawson’s courtesy runner in scoring position.
Lady Tide batter Katie Estill then bunted in a run. Wingate had a base hit and the Lady Tide scored on another bad throw to first base. A hit from Brittany Smiley and another infield error gave the Lady Tide a 6-0 lead at the close of the inning.
In the fourth, the Lady Tide loaded the bases off hits from Dawson, Kaylyn McEwing and Golden. Madalynn Flynn got a hit and a Liberty throwing error cost the Lady Panthers two more runs and put them in an 8-0 hole.
The Blue Tide added two more runs in the top of the fifth.
Lady Panther coach Jerome Standard said he continues to see improvement in his fledgling team, which is 2-0 overall.
Standard said the team is rebuilding after losing seven seniors last season, most of which were the heart of his infield and pitching staff.
Lady Tide coach Thomas said his girls worked hard to improve on last year’s 5-19 record.
“I think that a lot of the improvement comes from these girls dedication to making themselves better softball players,” he said. “All of our players work really hard every day at practice to get better, and when that is the case, practice becomes much easier and we can work on more situations.”