LUDOWICI -- All good things must come to an end. That is exactly what happened with the Long County Blue Tide baseball team’s undefeated streak as they hosted the South Effingham Mustangs on Tuesday, March 15.
The Mustangs came into the game 8-3 and ranked in the top ten of many AAAAAA polls. They came out strong recording three hits and a run to go up 1-0.
Despite giving up the run, senior pitcher Jacob Struble was strong on the mound, striking out three Mustangs to get his team out of the inning.
The Tide bats were cool for most of the night as the first nine batters sat down without getting on base. Luckily, their defense was strong, allowing just the one run in the first inning.
In the top of the second, senior catcher Joseph Cammack made a great pickoff at third base. This was after a ball bounced up into his groin and had to have a pinch hitter in the bottom of the inning.
It looked as though the Tide were going to break their hitless streak in the bottom of the second as freshman Nick Sizemore got on base with a single with two outs on the board.
However, he and fellow freshman Kenny Pickens got the batting order reversed and Pickens was given the out to end the inning.
The Mustangs got one on after a hit batter in the top of the third, but senior Blake Holland made a great play to catch a line drive and tag first for the double play, getting out of the third still down 1-0.
Errors finally caught up with the Tide in the fourth as the Mustangs got two on with no outs after a walk and an error as Struble slipped on the wet infield trying to make a play on the softly hit ball.
The Mustangs added to their lead two batters later with a sacrifice RBI. Cammack ended the inning and got his team out of the two-out, two-on jam by picking off a runner at second base.
The Tide got their first base runner in the fourth as Brennan Lee walked, but the Tide could not take advantage of their position, despite their first hit with Struble’s single, as they still trailed going into the fifth.
South Effingham started to pull away in the fifth as they recorded two hits and a run to go up 3-0. With a runner on third and two outs, Struble balked and brought in the fourth run.
The Tide went three up, three down in the fifth as they started to run out of chances. The Mustangs, however, continued to stay hot from the plate.
Holland took the mound and the Mustangs went to work with a hit and a pair of walks to load the bases. A sacrifice RBI pushed their lead to 5-0 with a passed ball at the plate bringing home a sixth run before the Tide were able to stop the bleed and get out of the inning.
Another three batters went down as the Tide were down 6-0 going into the seventh. Holland allowed no hits in the inning and senior Cole Moss made a diving save at shortstop to get the third out.
Knowing it was their last shot to make a comeback, senior Dwayne Rowe opened the bottom of the seventh with a single, which was followed up by a single from Struble.
Senior Daniel Edwards took the plate and smacked a short hopper to third. He was able to beat the throw at first and bring home Rowe in the process for the Tide’s first run.
Cammack came up and popped up to centerfield and it looked like the first out. However, the ball fell just short of the fielder as the Tide loaded the bases with no outs as the crowd suddenly came to life.
However, the Mustangs were able to step up, recording back-to-back strikeouts and a ground out to first to end the game, giving the Tide their first loss of the season.
The Tide now fall to 11-1 on the year and will look to get back on track next week as they face off against the Statesboro Blue Devils. They will travel to play the 6A opponent Monday, March 21 and then host them on Thursday, March 24 for the final non-region game of the year and Senior Night.