Tift County wins baseball scrimmage over Tiftarea Academy

Feb. 9—TIFTON — Tiftarea Academy and Tift County met for the first ever time on the baseball diamond Thursday. Tift's Blue Devils, expected to be one of Georgia's best teams in 2024, showed its completeness via 7-0 no-hitter.

As a scrimmage, the game won't count in the standings, but marks one of only a handful of times the two schools have been on the same field.

The Blue Devils hosted Tiftarea for a wrestling dual not long after the GHSA allowed limited competition between its teams and schools competing in the GISA (now GIAA). Though there are no limits now on which sports can interact, the two had only competed in track, cross country and a girls junior varsity soccer game until Thursday.

Tift posted three runs in the 1st frame and four in the 5th.

Eight pitches combined for the no-no, striking out 14 in the process. John Davis was the starter, with Ryan Whitley, Landon Parrish, Will Pridgen, Brady Moretz, John Dorman, Luke Ellerbee and Tyler VanSumeren all getting a turn on the hill.

Whitley, who pitched two innings, struck out four.

Tiftarea earned five walks and John Jackson even advanced to third base in the 1st on a steal and wild pitch, but that was as close as they got.

Panthers' starter Winston Lamb struck out the first man he saw in the scrimmage and got the second out on a grounder, but ran into trouble after.

Davis singled over first and soon the bases filled when Moretz and Dorman were hit by pitches. Ellerbee earned a walk to drive in the first run of the night, then VanSumeren made it 3-0 when dropped a double to shallow left.

The 3-0 score held until the bottom of the 5th.

Moretz began the inning by lining a single between shortstop and third, then stole second. With one out, Ty Dorden reached on an infield throwing error, sending Moretz to third.

VanSumeren picked up another RBI on a squeeze bunt, Moretz barely sliding in under the throw. Drew Hembree blooped a single to center to load the bases for Cam Smith. Smith cleared the bases with a double to center, the three RBIs increasing the score to 7-0.

Smith's trio of RBIs led Tift, with Davis picking up two hits. Tiftarea pitchers held the Blue Devils to just two extra-base hits, the doubles by VanSumeren and Smith.

Lane Cole earned two free passes for the Panthers. Jackson had their only stolen base.

From here, both teams start their regular seasons.

Camden County will be at Tift Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. On the same date, Tiftarea travels to Clinch County. Clinch will return the favor wit a trip to Chula Thursday, Feb. 15.