The Long County Lady Blue Tide softball team is off to a hot start to the 2022 season as the Coach Harley Dawson era begins. The team notched its third straight win on Tuesday, August 16 as they run ruled the Brunswick Pirates 8-0 in five innings.
In Tuesday’s dominant showing, senior pitcher Jaci Smiley had an incredible game, pitching her second straight complete game while also notching her first shutout of the season.
Of the Tide’s first nine recorded outs, Smiley sat down six batters with strikeouts, including three straight in the top of the second inning.
Dawson said that despite her inexperience coming into the summer and season, Smiley has gotten off to a better start than she could have imagined.
“Smiley definitely came in and did a good job of shutting them out,” Dawson said. “This is her first shutout of the year. It shows she’s been working in the offseason over summer and that’s coming into play. She only pitched about three games for us last year, so for her to come in and have the confidence that she has is definitely telling of who she is.”
Smiley was quick to give the credit away as she was appreciative of her teammates doing what they needed to do to get the win over a much larger school.
“We played (Brunswick) before and led off pretty good, but then I kind of let up a little bit and they came back and scored,” Smiley said. “I knew this game that I shouldn’t have done that and I just wanted to provide for my team, because I knew they were doing their job at bat and in the field. I just wanted to do my part and let them know that I have their backs.”
At the plate, it was a good day for the Lady Tide as they got two runs on the board early, thanks to a RBI double from Kyleigh Sizemore and a RBI single from Smiley.
The score remained 2-0 until the fourth when Kassie Davis led off with a double, Emma Smith was hit by a pitch and Amiyah Simpkins walked to load the bases.
Rebecca Lust singled with a force out at the plate and tried to go to second. She was thrown out at second, but Smith and Simpkins both scored to make the score 4-0.
The Lady Tide turned it back on in the fifth as they scored four more to wrap up the game. Taylor Hodges singled and stole second before Smiley batted her around with a sacrifice RBI.
Davis doubled again before Smith was hit with another pitch. Simpkins brought Davis home on a single and advanced to second before freshman Morgan Goode came in to pinch hit.
She hit a chopper to shortstop and reached on a throwing error as Smith and Simpkins came home to make the score 8-0. That ended the game due to the GHSA run rule of and eight-run lead after five innings.
Smiley went five innings with seven strikeouts and two hits on the game. She was also 1-for-2 from the plate with an RBI and a sacrifice RBI.
With the win, the Lady Tide move to 4-1 on the year and look to start off region play the right way as they travel to Hinesville, Wednesday, August 17 to take on the Liberty County Panthers.