The Long County Blue Tide baseball team knows it is going to have some tough challenges throughout the 2023 season after losing eight seniors from 2022. They opened the season with a tough 10-7 loss in former region rival Pierce County.
Pierce County showed why it will be a power in AA as they opened the first inning with three runs. A double to the left field corner set up runners on second and third before a two-run single and another double gave the Bears the early lead.
With two on and one out, the Bears made it 7-0 on a Caden Williams three-run home run over the centerfield wall.
Sophomore Creighton Rogers walked before senior Ryder Dawson cracked a double to put the Tide on the board in the bottom of the second. Sophomore Anthony Bramwell brought Dawson home on a single to make the score 7-2.
Steven Wyatt was hit by a pitch and Shannon Filkins walked to load the bases with two outs, but the Tide could not take advantage.
Senior Gio Jackson took the mound and struck out the first two Bears and, despite walking the next two batters, got out of the inning with no real damage done and three strikeouts on the board.
It did not take long for the Bears to get back on the board as they added two runs in the fourth on a walk and two hits.
Down 9-2 in the sixth inning, the Tide’s bats woke up again.
Dawson brought home two runs on his second double of the game to make the score 9-4 going into the final inning, giving the Tide some hope.
With freshman Dylan Lester on the mound for the Tide, the Bears scored one run in the seventh but the Tide did not allow any more damage and still had a chance going into their final three outs.
Wyatt opened up the seventh on a walk and Filkins reached on an error at first, as did sophomore Nick Sizemore, which allowed Wyatt to score and cut the Bears’ lead to 10-5.
Sophomore Kenny Pickens record a sacrifice fly RBI to right field and junior Elijah Lester reached on a dropped third strike to load the bases.
Rogers brought in a run with two outs as the Bears made a pitching change. Jackson looked to give the Tide’s hottest batter of the night - Dawson - a chance, but his pop up to left field brought the game to an end.
The Tide open the year 0-1 and will play in Blackshear on Thursday, February 9.