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Tide takes one game at a time
Brit Horne is one of three senior pitchers back on the mound for the Tide this season. Injuries on the pitcher's mound cost the Tide depth and hurt the team last season. - photo by By Patty Leon / Coastal Courier
Oh what a difference a year makes. As the Blue Tide approaches the critical point of the baseball season, preparing for seven straight regional games in 2-AA, they should feel proud with their overall performance to date.
With an 8-2 overall and 2-1 region record this year it's as if they are a whole new ball team compared to last season's 4-20 overall record and 3-11 regional standing.
Currently the Tide is ranked third in 2-AA behind Pierce and Savannah Christian. Last year they finished in seventh place. The difference is clear, last year's injuries cost them depth in their pitchers.
This season the Tide returned seniors Stetson Strickland, Britt Horne and Ryan Simmons to the mound and has 2 seasoned juniors and 2 sophomores from last year waiting in the pen if needed. They also added 4 more seniors at shortstop, catcher, outfield and third base.
The bats are also swinging with solid performances from Paul Lewandowski who hit 2 back-to-back home runs in the 21-7 victory over Groves on March 12, and had another homer in the Tide victory over Bradwell on Saturday. John Lindsey, a new senior, added another homer in that game and is just one of several heavy hitters the Tide hopes will get them in good position for a shot at the post season.
All season long Tide coach Brian Thomas has said it's great teamwork and that his seniors have stepped into leadership roles.
Formerly the Tide assistant coach, Thomas was named head coach for this season and the team has never looked back. The first of their two losses happened in their season opener against Wayne (non-region) and then again in their regional opener against Pierce.
They defeated Charlton (regional game) in a close game by one 9-8 and then defeated Brantley (regional game) 11-6 last Friday. Those two teams were seated just ahead of Long County last season at fifth and sixth respectively. This season, Charlton ranks sixth and Brantley fell to number eight in 2-AA.
Thomas is quick to keep his team in check and knows there is plenty of baseball yet to come.
"Pierce, Appling, Jeff Davis and Savannah Christian all have great teams," he said. "They are going to be the four teams that we need to beat to slide into one of those spots. We are satisfied with where we are. But we have put ourselves in a position to make a run to the playoffs, and we can if we go out and do what we need to do. We are just thinking about Jeff Davis, the playoffs have not crossed my mind."
The Tide was scheduled to travel to play Jeff Davis last night. We will bring you the results in Friday's paper.

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