The Blue Tide baseball team recently found its way into "the zone" and the squad isn’t ready to leave it yet. On Wednesday in Ludowici, Long County won its fifth straight game, defeating Windsor Forest High School, 9-0.
Tide head coach Brian Thomas started Trent Wells on the mound, and the right-hander was dead on the money. In the first inning, he allowed two hits but followed up with "three up and three down" in the second and third innings. Going into the bottom of the third, the Blue Tide had a 1-0 lead.
However, in the bottom of the third, Long County’s bats got hot. Jake Durham, Clint Kennedy, Brandon McManus and Nick Moody each had singles and Richard "Rat" Johnson and Wells both slammed doubles. Wells’ big hit was deep enough to bring in two RBIs, and by the end of the inning the Blue Tide was up 8-0.
Long County added another run in the bottom of the sixth inning, which was set up by a triple by Tommy Freeman and secured the victory.
Wells got a shutout win and allowed only six hits, while the Tide had 10 hits in the contests. Both teams played an error-free game.
With the win, the Blue Tide improved its overall record to 12-10, and the five-game winning streak tied a personal best for Thomas as coach of the Long County team.
Regarding the squad’s recent surge in motivation, Thomas said, "We’re playing a complete game, offensively, defensively and in our pitching. That’s the difference. For us to keep winning, we have to keep doing the same."
Although Long County is hot right now, only two of the five wins were region matches, and the team still is fighting for the fourth spot in the standings to make the playoffs.
After Wednesday’s game, the top three spots in Region 2-AA belong to Appling County (13-1), Pierce County (10-3) and Jeff Davis (9-4). Brantley County, Benedictine, Tattnall County and Long County are all battling for the No. 4 slot. Brantley is 7-6 in the standings while the other three teams are 4-8.
Yesterday, the Tide faced Brantley in Nahunta — a must-win game for Long County.
"We know what we have to do," Thomas said before Thursday’s match. "If they win, they get the fourth spot. If we win, we still are in it."
Results from the Brantley game were not available at press time, but will be in Sunday’s Courier.