Tifton Gazette

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April 26, 2014

Tift wins season finale

CORDELE — Pit a pair of 20-win high schools teams against each other and expectations are they’ll be involved in a battle royale to see which  comes out on top.

Saturday’s regular season finale for both Region 1-AAAA champion Crisp County and Region 1-AAAAAA runner-up Tift County definitely lived up to that billing in a duel that ended with the visiting Blue Devils the owners of a 4-2 win.

“It was good game as both teams played well,” Crisp coach Bill Pate said following the re-match between his now 20-4-1 Cougars and Tift’s 21-4-1 Blue Devils who had scrapped to a 4-4 tie the Saturday before at Turner Field in Atlanta.

“I was very pleased with our effort as the kids played hard against a quality opponent. Our last three games have provided us a good learning situation that should help better prepare us for the playoffs.”

Crisp launches postseason play with a best-of-three series that begins with a 5 p.m. Friday home twin bill against South Effingham. Should a third game be needed, it will be played on Saturday.

En route to their hard-earned win over the Cougars, the Blue Devils left the bases loaded in the first, stranded men at second and third in the second and had a runner thrown out at the plate in the third.

Crisp also failed to score in its first three at-bats against sneaky fast Tift righthander Zack Bullard who on the day allowed just four hits, struck out eight and walked six.

After a long double off the base of the fence in left by Ryan Ross led to the Blue Devils’ first run of the game in the fourth as it moved David McCray, who had singled, to third. He scored from there on a wild pitch.

Crisp promptly answered with its only two runs of the baseball-perfect afternoon. They came on Stewart Tyler’s opposite-field single to left that scored C.J. White, who had walked, and Bradley Hough, who had doubled.

Tift immediately got the tying and go-ahead runs in the fifth via Alex Abbott’s second two-bagger of the day, a walk, a single that was erred in right and a sacrifice fly.

Bullard gave himself an insurance run with a two-out, line-drive solo homer to left in the seventh.

Le Bassett and Christian Avant each had two hits for the Devils. Avant also had an RBI.

Crisp’s four hits were divided among as many players. Its mound chores were shared by the quartet of Taylor Walls, Austin Walls, Hough and White who as a group allowed nine hits, struck out three and walked three.

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