The Long County Blue Tide baseball team’s 2021 season is finally up and rolling and the team has now won their last four games. On Friday, March 12, the team picked up arguably its biggest win of the season with a 3-1 win over former AA rival Vidalia.
The Tide knew this game was going to be one of their toughest so far, especially compared to their last three wins - 15-0 and 12-3 over East Laurens and 12-0 over Bradwell. It was a battle from the start as neither team could cross home plate in the first two innings.
In the top of the second, junior Cole Moss made a great play from the shortstop position to get an out while fellow junior Jacob Struble worked his way out a jam with two runners on base.
The Tide finally were able to get on the board as Moss’ bunt loaded the bases with no outs. Struble came to the plate and smacked a ball into left field and brought home one runner as Trevor Ray nearly scored by leaping over the catcher, but was just called out.
With a 1-0 lead going into the fourth, the Tide found themselves in another jam. The Indians loaded the bases on a walk, an error, and a hit batter, but Struble recorded his second and third strikeouts of the half inning to keep his team on top.
The Tide added more insurance for themselves in the bottom half of the inning as two runners scored on passed balls to give the Tide a 3-0 lead going into the fifth inning.
Senior TJ Criswell took over on the mound and picked up right where Struble left off. He did allow a hit, but recorded two strikeouts on looks while Moss continued to show his defensive ability with an impressive leaping grab for an out.
The Indians quickly sat the Tide down in the bottom of the fifth and went back to work in the top of the sixth. They were able to get two runners on base thanks to a single and a walk before a sacrifice fly out to right field scored them a run with one out.
Junior Dwayne Rowe made a huge play in centerfield as he slid under a fly ball that would have surely tied the game for Vidalia as the Tide went into the bottom half of the inning up 3-1.
It was three up, three down for the Tide again in the sixth, but they knew that three outs would end the game. One batther got on base thanks to an error, but the Tide didn’t allow another base runner. They got an out at first and Struble made a sliding catch in left field foul territory for the second out.
It came down to Criswell with one out left to go as he hurled two strikes as the tension built. Fans awaited on the edge of their seats as his third strikeout went across the plate with the Indian batter watching it go by.
In the victory, Struble was 1-2 from the plate with the Tide’s only RBI. He was also great on the mound once again as he picked up the victory with three hits and no runs allowed while striking out five batters.
The Tide have won four straight games and are now 5-3 on the season. They will travel to 6A South Effingham on Tuesday, March 16 and host single A public McIntosh County Academy on Wednesday, March 17.