TIFTON -- Getting a pair of two-out hits from freshmen Charlie Edwards and Israel Troupe in the bottom of the seventh inning, the Tift County Blue Devils remained alive in the Region 1-AAAAA playoff hunt with a 3-2 victory over the Colquitt County Packers Tuesday night at the Devil Diamond.
With the win Tift is now 4-5 in the league with one game left Friday night at Valdosta. A win over Valdosta would put the Devils in the postseason for the first time since 1998.
After Tuesday night's play, the region standings have Lee on top at 9-0, Lowndes second at 5-4, Coffee and Tift tied for third at 4-5, Valdosta in fourth at 3-6 and Colquitt in last at 2-7. Besides Tift's win Tuesday, Coffee won 2-1 over Lowndes, while Lee took a 12-1 victory over Valdosta.
Counting the triumph over Colquitt, all four of Tift's wins in the region have come in their last at-bats.
"We won't give up. The kids have played hard all year. Even when we make mistakes, we still have been playing hard," said Tift coach Chuck Beale.
Down 2-1 going into the seventh, Tift senior Austin Moretz led off with a walk. After going to second on a passed ball, Moretz was still on base after Colquitt starter Thomas Tripp struck out Matt Davis and got Lee Caquelard on a fly ball to right.
However, with two outs Edwards came up with a single to right. Packer right fielder Ross Cox threw a strike to catcher Chad Smith, but Moretz slid around the tag to tie the game for the Devils.
Edwards went to second on the play and Colquitt walked the next batter, Tift senior Matt Shurley. With Edwards on second, Troupe hit a sinking liner to right that went off the glove of Cox. That allowed the freshman to score the game winning run.
"That was big for two freshmen to come up there and get a pair of two-out hits. We left some guys on early, but we got the hits when we needed them," said Beale.
Troupe also had a hand in Tift's first run, which came in the sixth.
With two outs, the freshman hit a ground ball to third baseman Mike Mobley, who bobbled the ball which allowed Troupe to reach. A walk to Corey Taylor let Troupe go to second. The freshman then scored on a double by Alan Manning.
The three runs made a winner out of Shurley. The senior went the distance, struck out six, walked one and allowed five hits with two earned runs. At one point Shurley retired 11 of 12 Packers. The one exception was Cody Turpen, who reached on a single in the sixth, but was thrown out on a strong throw by Tift leftfielder Austin Smith as he tried to stretch it into a double.
"That was a great throw by Austin. We really got contributions from everyone that played tonight," said Beale.
Colquitt's runs came in the first and seventh. Both times the runs scored with two outs. Jonathan Walker got an RBI single in the first and Chad Smith knocked in a run with a double in the seventh.
The biggest number in Shurley's favor was that the Devil defense committed no errors in the game.
"With our pitching, if we play good defense, we have a chance to be in every ball game. Tonight proved that," said Beale.
Offensively Tift got two hits from Edwards, Troupe and Manning. Five players had one hit apiece for Colquitt, Will Southwell and Smith each had a double.
Tripp went the distance for Colquitt. He gave up three runs, two of which were earned, struck out three and walked three.
The Tift-Valdosta matchup will be at 7 p.m. Friday in Valdosta.
React to this story:
This Week's Circulars
- Film industry boon for Tift tourism
- COVID-19 cases still on the rise statewide
- First honorary street name change filed
- Kemp kicks off Tifton event
- County to review road grant, more at meeting
- Tift virus numbers unchanged Wednesday
- Tiftarea middle school squad wins conference baseball crown
- VSU grant initiates opioid addiction project
- Tift reports COVID-19-related death
- Kemp scheduled to visit Tifton museum Friday
Sorry, there are no recent results for popular videos.