In 2022, the Lady Blue Tide softball team won its first region championship. Coming into this week, they had a chance to repeat as champions, but their path to a second straight title got a little rockier on Monday,
They hosted the Savannah Christian Raiders on Monday knowing they needed to sweep to outright win the region. They are now in a must-win situation in the final two games to clinch a share of the region championship after a 10-2 loss.
The first two innings went smoothly for the Tide as they sat down the first four batters for the Raiders. Freshman pitcher Casey Lust recorded a strikeout in the first as well.
At the plate, the Tide going in the second. Freshmen Ainsley Anderson and Mallory Skipper both singled to put two on with two outs, but could not take advantage of the runners in scoring position.
In the third, the Lady Tide started another two-out rally as Ciara O’Brien singled and Kyleigh Sizemore singled before Anderson just beat out the throw to first to score the first run of the game.
However, the fourth inning was where things turned sour for the Tide. Lust had not allowed a hit on the game, but once she gave up her first, the floodgates opened.
The first run was scored on a throwing error from centerfield as the ball sailed past the second baseman and allowed one to get across the plate.
Savannah Christian loaded the bases and eventually cleared them on a triple to score three more runs to go up 4-1.
After two more runs, the Lady Tide seemingly had shut down the Raiders on a double play. With one on first and second, a ground ball was fielded and thrown to first for the second out. Addison Moss threw to second to attempt to get the second out and it was on time. The umpire mistakenly called the runner out at second on a force out. With the initial out recorded at first base, the runner going to second base needed to be tagged out.
This caused confusion and a 15-minute delay as the umpires and coaches discussed what to do in the situation.
Ultimately, the Raiders, who sent their two batters home amidst the confusion, were awarded second and third base while the Tide were given the one out at first.
Up 6-1, the Raiders went on to score four more runs as Alyssa Skipper took over on the mound for Lust. They led 10-1 going into the fifth as the Tide could not get their bats going in the bottom of the inning.
Down by nine, the Lady Tide tried to rally to avoid the mercy rule finish. Alyssa Skipper reached on an error before Sizemore brought her home on a blooping single to shallow left.
With two outs, though, that was all the Tide could muster as the Raiders closed out the inning and the game to win 10-2.
The Tide now must win the last two games of the series to force a three-way tie for the region championship. A loss in either game would give the Raiders the region championship and drop the Tide to the number three seed in the state playoffs.
As the three seed, the Lady Tide would travel to either Cordele or Columbus for the Super Regional round Oct 16-17.