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Tide baseball ready to build on historic 2021
0206 Blue Tide logo

LUDOWICI -- The Long County Blue Tide baseball team had a historic 2021 season when the team advanced to the quarterfinals of the state playoffs for the first time since 2003. With a strong group of seniors and experienced players returning, they are ready to build on their historic season.

The Blue Tide saw their 2021 season come to an end in the quarterfinals after going on the road three straight rounds. They fell to eventual state runner-up Franklin County 5-1 and 9-1.

However, since that loss, the team “went to work after the season ended” and they are “hungry.”

“They have grinded in the weight room all year long. They have worked hard and found ways to get better baseball wise this off-season,” fifth-year head coach James Hobbs said. “We graduated three big arms on the mound last year that will be hard to fill, but we have had some guys step up and have thrown some really good bullpens of late. This team blends really well together, and we are ready to run it back.”

The 2021 team graduated five seniors, including Noah Kuhaneck and TJ Criswell who both signed to play baseball at South Georgia College. Hobbs talked about how this year’s group of seniors is the biggest he has had and how it has been fun learning the team’s personality.

“It’s always fun for us coaches to see the personality of a team develop once we get everyone out there and get going,” he said. “This senior group brings a lot of experience and have performed in some big-time situations over the years. They have really taken ownership of the team. They have also been a great example for the underclassmen, teaching them the system we have and how we go about things.”

Long County has been stuck in arguably the toughest baseball region in the state since Hobbs took over. Pierce County and Appling County both made the quarterfinals along with the Tide last season with the latter advancing to the Final Four and just barely missed making the state championship round.

Hobbs said that not only are Pierce and Appling tough, but Tattnall County and Brantley County are also “scrappy teams.” To prepare them for the region schedule, the team has put together a tough non-region slate.

The team will host Single A Public state champion Metter, who is ranked number one in the state by many outlets, in the second game of the season and the fifth-ranked 6A South Effingham Mustangs in mid-March.

“Playing tough competition early in the year while we put the puzzle together helps prepare us for the tough region we have,” Hobbs said. “But we are just going to take one game at a time, one series at a time, and know if we play our game and do the little things right, I like our chances.”

The Blue Tide begin their season on Feb. 9 when they host the Brunswick Pirates for a scrimmage. 

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