On a cold night in Hinesville, the Long County Blue Tide offense was hot, as the visitors from neighboring Ludowici came to town and left with a convincing 15-0 shutout of the home standing Tigers. With the win, the Blue Tide improve their record on the year to 7-2 and complete the two-game season sweep of the Tigers.
The Blue Tide wasted no time getting the scoring started. In the top of the 1st inning, Tiger starter Nick Corwin walked leadoff batter TJ Criswell and hit Allen Crystal putting runners on 1st and 2nd with one out. Tide clean-up batter Luke Wells followed with a towering homerun over the left center field fence to give the Tide a 3-0 lead.
The Tigers would walk 4 total batters in the inning while hitting 2 Tide hitters. Before it was over, the Tide would lead 5-0 on just one hit, the Wells 3-run homerun.
The Tigers mounted a threat of their own in the bottom of the inning on the strength of a leadoff single by Daiton Pass, a hit batsman, and a walk. But Tide starter Ethan Williams was able to pitch around the baserunners, catching Pass in a run down between 3rd and home on a comebacker to the mound, and then striking out Brandon Hellgren to end the inning.
The Tide added 3 more in the 2nd on a sacrifice fly by Wells, a wild pitch, and yet another hit batsman with the bases loaded.
Long County carried an 8-0 lead to the 3rd inning where they would again add on to their already comfortable lead. Allen Crystal singled home TJ Criswell and Wells collected his 5th RBI of the night on a single to left scoring Crystal.
The 4th would prove to be another big inning, and as it would turn out, the last inning of the game. Tide 3rd baseman Trevor Ray singled to center to drive in Joseph Cammack. The Tigers then went to their bullpen, bringing in Andrew Hellgren. TJ Criswell greeted Hellgren with a double to left center to score Carlos Cruz. A wild pitch brought Ray home and the Tide enjoyed a 13-0 lead.
Allen Crystal kept the scoring spree going when he grounded out sharply to 2nd, scoring Criswell from third. That brought Wells to the plate with the bases empty, but the Tide 2nd baseman managed to pick up his 6th RBI on the night with a long no-doubter homerun to left to give Long County a 15-0 lead.
Wells finished the game on the mound for the Blue Tide, coming in and pitching a scoreless bottom of the 4th to end the game by virtue of the run rule.
It was a big night offensively for the Tide, in particular for Wells. The two homeruns were not only the first two of the season for the Tide, but also the first two of Wells’ high school career. He finished the night going 3-3, with the two round trippers, a single, a sac fly, and 6 RBI.
Blue Tide head coach James Hobbs was certainly glad to see it. “We finally had the bats break out like I’ve been waiting for. I’ve been waiting on Luke to get hot, and I feel like he finally broke loose tonight.”
Ethan Williams, still recovering from Guillain-Barre syndrome, got his first start on the mound, and after a shaky 1st inning, pitched very well in getting the win. “We were able to get Ethan Williams his 1st start of the year,” Hobbs said. “We’ve been gradually working him in but wanted to get him a start before region play. I thought he did a good job, getting out of a jam in the 1st inning, before settling in.”
Williams threw 3 innings, allowing just one hit, the first batter he faced, walking 1 and striking out 3 on 48 total pitches.
Other than the big day from Wells, TJ Criswell went 2-3 with an RBI. Allen Crystal was 1-2 with two RBI and 3 runs scored. Trevor Ray went 1-2 scoring a run and driving in 2. Carlos Cruz also drove in a run in the winning cause.
The Tide will play Jenkins High Friday before beginning region play next week with a 3-game series with the Tattnall County Battle Creek Warriors.