Blue Devils need only 10 innings for double lashing of Lee

Mar. 9—TIFTON — Tift County head coach Greg Williams was quite pleasantly surprised Friday by how dominant his Blue Devils were in the sweep over Lee County.

"I did not see that coming," Williams admitted.

Friday was a pair of five-inning mercy rules, the opener 11-0 and the nightcap 12-2. Two nights earlier, Tift County had needed a 7th inning comeback to win 5-3.

Lee had begun the week 8-5, with a 1-0 loss to Class 7A No. 2 Lowndes and quality wins against Yulee, Bainbridge and Wilcox County.

"That's a really good ballclub," said Williams of the Trojans. "Our bats woke up."

It was a frustrating night for the visitors. The Trojans did have a 1-0 1st inning lead in the latter, only to see Tift score six in their half of the frame.

The opener was slightly slower to develop, but saw the Blue Devils go 11-for-22 at the dish and John Davis pitch a one-hitter. John Dorman won the second game, striking out four.

"They do what they do," Williams said.

TIFT 11, LEE 0

Davis led off the first game with a walk and was immediately balked to second. Two errors in the inning came home to roost, both Davis and Brady Moretz scoring on an errant throw off the bat of Cam Smith. Tyler VanSumeren made it a 3-0 game when he singled in Ty Dorden, courtesy running for Smith.

Three more scored in the second.

Tyler Holmes, Landon Parrish and Luke Elerbee loaded the bases with no outs. Moretz dinked a single to right to make it 4-0, then Dorman doubled in Parrish and Ellerbee.

Tift moved the score to mercy rule territory in the bottom of the 3rd with five big runs.

Smith doubled, Dorden scoring on a single by VanSumeren. Parrish had an RBI on a sac fly. Later, Ellerbee, Davis and Moretz tallied. Moretz singled in Ellerbee and Dorman took care of the other two on a base hit.

Lee recorded one of its only two 1-2-3 innings of the night in the 4th, but it was too late. Davis set down the Trojans in order in the 5th and the first game needed less than 90 minutes to complete.

TIFT 12, LEE 2

A ball lost in the freshly turned on lights of Devil Diamond gave Weston Bryan a first frame RBI for Lee, scoring Durrah Butler. But any fears of a Lee resurgence in the second contest were quickly put to rest minutes later.

Davis walked and the Blue Devils had runners at the corners on Moretz single past shortstop. Dorman singled to center knot the score at 1-1.

With one out, Smith laid down a squeeze bunt for Moretz to score to make it 2-1. VanSumeren sent a single up the middle to plate Dorden (running for Dorman) and the Devils were not done. Parrish blooped to right for an RBI — later scoring on a wild pitch — and Ellerbee lined to the center-right gap for a 6-1 game.

Tift sent 11 men to the dish in the 1st. The Trojans got them in order in the 2nd, but they went off again in the 3rd, with 10 getting to bat.

VanSumeren, Holmes and Parrish loaded the bases with no outs. Elerbee reached on a fielder's choice that cut down VanSumeren on a force at home, but Lee would not be so lucky after.

Two runs scored on an outfield misplay off Davis' bat. Moretz filled the bags when a pitch nicked the top of his helmet, then Dorman picked up a painful RBI when he was hit on the elbow.

Mac Brooks turned the pain back on Lee County with a two-run single to right. The Trojans traded a run for an out on a Smith grounder to short, Dorden scoring the sixth run of the inning to make it 12-1.

Bryan doubled in Grayson Spears in the 5th, but the Trojans could not get another run to avoid the mercy rule. Parrish was a big reason why. He covered a mile of territory to rob Josh Barnes on the right field line. One batter later, he made a tumbling catch near center on Butler.

Williams said on defense alone, Parrish might be the player of the game. At the plate, he scored three runs and drove in another. The head coach also praised Holmes, who was spotless at third base in his first game ever at the position.

There was another victory Friday, one always easy to obtain, but one Williams was just as happy to get. Tift beat the rain. Ten minutes after the second game ended, rain started to fall, affecting the next door soccer match.

Earlier this week, Tift faced a 2-1 deficit in the 7th, then scored four runs. The Trojans loaded the bases with no outs in the bottom of the 7th. Williams brought in Davis and he permitted only one run while striking out two to close it out.

Friday marked the end of the first week of Region 1-6A competition. Both Tift and Houston County were 3-0. Thomas County Central, who the Blue Devils see this week, was 2-1.

TCC won 2-1 and 6-1 over Veterans during the week, with the Warhawks splitting Friday's doubleheader with a 3-2 victory. Houston sweep Northside (Warner Robins), 8-0, 17-2 and 19-0.

Houston's next games are against Veterans, with Lee taking on Northside.