TIFTON — The Tift County Blue Devils and the Lowndes Vikings squared off Friday night in Region 1-AAAAA baseball action. Although Lowndes took an early lead over the Blue Devils, it was Tift that battled back and pulled off a 5-2 win.
Lowndes used two Tift errors in the top of the first inning to plate two runners and quickly put the Blue Devils in a 2-0 hole.
Tift’s defense took over from there.
After giving up a hit and two unearned runs in the first, Tift’s Cole Janousek dominated for the remainder of the contest. In the last six innings, Janousek gave up just four hits and no runs while striking out six Lowndes batters.
Offensively, the Blue Devils managed seven hits in the contest but stranded five runners in the first three innings before finally getting on the board in the fifth.
Seth Mann got the ball rolling for Tift in the fifth inning with a leadoff home run to left center field.
Hayden Jones then reached first on a Lowndes error, Tate Bullard hustled for an infield hit and Guy McClung reached on a fielder’s choice to load the bases for Tift, which still had all three outs to work with.
Although a double play off the bat of Nick Utley gave the Vikings two outs, it also plated Jones to tie the game at 2-2.
The Blue Devils were not done.
The next Vikings pitch went wild, sending Will Reinhardt across the plate to give Tift a 3-2 lead.
With the bases still loaded and two outs, Janousek hit a liner to the Vikings’ shortstop, who could not get a clean throw to second. As a result of the error, Tift marched two more runs across the plate to take a 5-2 lead.
Neither team posed much of a scoring threat for the remainder of the game and the Blue Devils walked away with the ever-important region win.
Tift now improves to 12-4 overall and 3-2 in the region. The Blue Devils will travel to Colquitt for more region action on Tuesday.