Tifton Gazette


April 8, 2013

Devils invade coast, split wins with Pirates

BRUNSWICK — The Tift County Blue Devils invaded the coast Saturday for a doubleheader with the Brunswick Pirates and walked away with a split. The Pirates grabbed their first Region 1-AAAAAA win of the year in the opener, 3-0, but the Devils rebounded for a 10-0 victory in the nightcap. Tift is now 10-7 overall, 4-6 in the region.

In the first game, Pirate pitcher J.R. Van Allen provided the initial spark with a two-out homer in the first inning. The final two runs came in the fifth inning, off a Roy Poppell double and Tyler Johnson sacrifice bunt.

Tift’s only real scoring opportunity came in the third when Blake Suggs was hit by a pitch with one out and advanced to third on a pair of wild pitches. A pop up to first and a grounder to second ended the scoring threat.

Joseph Watson pitched a complete game for the Devils, allowing five hits and striking out four in the loss. Bobby Hughes had two hits in the contest and Alex Abbott and Will Reinhardt each recorded one.

The second game of the doubleheader would last only five innings, the Devils pouncing in the second inning with four runs. Zack Bullard was hit by a pitch to open the frame. Cole Bennett’s bunt attempt saw the first of several Pirate miscues of the inning. Brunswick hurler Austin Guess rush his throw to second, allowing both runners to safely reach, then a passed ball moved them to second and third. When Ryan Ross laid down a squeeze bunt, Guess threw the ball down the first base line. Both runners would score and Ross advanced to second on the play.

Another bunt by Blake Walker resulted in another Guess error. With Ross at third, Walker stole second. A wild throw from the catcher saw Ross score and Walker make third. A double by Reinhardt completed the scoring, driving in Walker.

Bullard provided the fifth run of the afternoon. He walked in the third inning, was singled to third by Bennett, and crossed the plate after a Ross squeeze bunt.

Five in the fifth finished the game for Tift. Abbott led off with a single, followed by a double from Suggs. Bullard ended up on second base after he dropped a fly between Pirates, scoring Abbott and sending Suggs to third. Suggs, who had to hold up on Bullard’s hit, scored after another Pirates blunder. A wild pitch went to the backstop and when pitcher and catcher became confused as to who would cover the plate, Bullard made it around for another run.

Ross concluded his big night with a double that scored Bennett, then he was able to cross the plate on Walker’s single.

Deviner McCray picked up the win in the nightcap, pitching a complete game, striking out three and only giving up two hits.

Tift travels to Warner Robins on Wednesday to play Veterans High School.  Tift County can earn a spot in the state playoffs with a doubleheader sweep of Coffee County when the two teams meet in Douglas on Friday, April 19.


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  • public safety awards.tif

    Pictured are the honorees of Thursday night's annual Public Safety Officer Appreciation and Awards Banquet by the Tifton Elks Lodge. Shown, from left, are Louise Spradley, who organized the banquet, Eddie Brown with the Tift County Emergency Medical Services, Sgt. Debbie Pyles with the Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College Police Department, Sgt. Bart Walker with the Omega Police Department, Officer of the Year honoree Thomas Catanzarita with the Tift County Sheriff's Office Jail Division, Deputy Jonathan Toledo with the TCSO, Brandi Conway with the Tifton-Tift County Animal Shelter, Georgia State Patrol Trooper Ben Taylor, Officer Brian Shockley with the Tifton Police Department and volunteer Firefighter Brian Fincher with the Chula Fire Department.

    LEOs and first responders honored at banquet

    A room full of local law enforcement and first responders were honored Thursday night by the Tifton Elks Lodge at their annual Public Safety Officer Appreciation and Awards Banquet for their service in the community.
    Prior to the awards being given out, Louise Spradley, who organized the banquet, welcomed everyone, and the invocation and pledge were led by the Tift County Sheriff's Office Honor Guard.

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