Ben-Gay ointment and Tide laundry detergent were hot items this past weekend in the homes of many Bryan County High School baseball players as the Redskins had a full slate of weekend games.
The Redskins were under the lights Friday night as the Portal Panthers were in town to get the weekend started. With both teams still scrapping for a spot in the Region 3-A tournament, this ballgame came down to the wire in extra innings as the Panthers held on and squeezed out a 12-11 victory.
The game started off with a bang for Portal as they quickly put their bats to use with a lead-off double against starting pitcher Justin Covington. Two passed balls, mixed in with three singles and three walks, did enough damage to get them a 4-0 lead before southpaw Cameron Lee came on in relief of Covington. Another wild pitch added another run before the inning ended and the Panthers were already on top 5-0 when Bryan County came to bat.
Leadoff hitter, Kurt Shuman was hit by a pitch before Garrett Riggleman lined a single to leftfield. Covington reached base on an error and before you know it, Bryan County had the bases loaded and a nailbiter seemed to be in the making. Cleanup hitter, Lee, hit a sacrifice fly to score Shuman and Cody Crowe singled in Riggleman to make it 5-2. Covington later scored when Chad Klopp walked with the bases loaded to walk in Covington and the first inning ended at 5-3.
Thanks to some solid hitting by Portal pitcher, Brett Rivers (4 for 4) and some control problems from Lee, Covington was re-welcomed at the mound as he came back in to pitch for Bryan County with the score 7-3. Covington got the Redskins out of the inning but not before the Panthers had tacked on two more runs to go up 9-3.
Crowe pounded a double in the bottom of the fifth. Redskin Zach Shanall then scored on a sacrifice fly by Bryce Mingledorff to make it 9-4 going into the sixth. Portal took advantage of Redskin errors and a balk to pick up two more runs to pull away from Bryan County at 11-4 when the old ‘never say die’ Redskin squad of the early season dug deep in the bottom of the sixth to mount a comeback that put the Redskin fans on the edge of their seats. Klopp led off with a two-bagger, Brett Moody walked, Shuman singled and drove in Klopp, Riggleman singled and drove in Moody, Covington sacrificed to score Shuman, Lee singled and stole second, Crowe hit a fielder’s choice and scored Riggleman, Mingledorff walked, pitcher balked to let in Lee and Bryan County had pulled within two to make it 11-9.
Covington held Portal to no hits and no runs in the seventh before the Redskins inched closer on the scoreboard. The bottom of the seventh saw Moody leadoff with a single. Riggleman walked to put runners on first and second, bringing Justin Covington to the plate with the tying run on first base. Covington patiently waited for his pitch and, when he found it, he was standing on second base with a double and 2 RBI’s with the score now 11-11. Bryan County left a runner on third with a full count when the game ended in regulation and was headed to extra innings.
Portal got a man on first with a walk to start the eighth, and a throwing error allowed the next batter to reach base and that put runners on first and second. Covington fanned the next batter, and the next, and the next, but the third strike swing for out number three glanced off the catcher’s mitt far enough for a runner to score before a flyout ended the inning with Portal up 12-11.
Mingledorff led off the bottom of the eighth with a walk, Pruitt walked, Moody walked to load the bases, but Bryan County had to watch those runners stranded on base as a flyout and ground out just couldn’t push the winning runs home. Portal breathed a sigh of relief and went home a 12-11 winner.
Saturday brought new life and new hope as Bryan County played the first game of a double-header against the Blue Tide of Long County. The game stayed close through the first few innings and the score was 8-5 after four, but then the power hitters of Long County flexed their muscles and banged out four over the fence home runs, scattered among other timely hits and made the day even longer for Bryan County as the Tide walloped their way to a 16-6 victory. Covington (3 hits), and Chad Klopp (2 hits) led a caravan of Redskin single hitters, as they combined for 13 hits of their own on the losing end .
Bryan County found themselves in another tough battle in game two of their double-header against Tattnall County and came up short on the score board as Tattnall walked away with a 12-3 win. The Redskin bats were still swinging as they slapped 13 hits in this game. Led by Brett Moody (3 hits), Lee, Klopp, and Pruitt each added 2 hits as Shuman, Riggleman, Crowe, and Mingledorff each added 1 hit of their own. Bryan County found some needed life in spite of their losing efforts as they had 36 hits, scored 20 runs, but made 18 errors in this three-game weekend stint. Coach Al Butler was overall pleased with what he saw from his young squad.
"We found some needed intensity in Friday night’s game against Portal and it carried over into our first game on Saturday," Butler said. "We ended up making way too many errors to win a game with, but many young guys got to play today that have not played much and we were able to see where we are headed, personnel wise, in the future. Even though we were down early in these games, the guys kept fighting and that is an attitude I haven’t seen from them in quite a while."
Next up, the Skins travel to Southeast Bulloch tonight and then play a make-up game on Thursday at home against Wheeler County. Look for details in Saturday’s paper.