Houston snaps Tift County's win streak

Mar. 28—TIFTON — Houston County drew first blood in the highly-anticipated Region 1-7A baseball series between the Bears and the Tift County Blue Devils

Thursday's 5-3 loss snapped Tift's 14-game winning streak, which had begun in February. The Devils still have a chance of winning the season series as they take on Houston in a doubleheader Friday in Warner Robins.

Troy Carpenter's two-run single to left field in the top of the 7th broke a 3-3 tie. Houston loaded the bases with one out when Carpenter delivered, Nick Gann and Kendall Jackson scoring.

Tift shut the door on an even bigger inning there, catcher Cam Smith throwing to John Dorman at third to catch a man on a stolen base try. Tyler VanSumeren forced a fly to center to end the inning.

With starter Landon Tankersley nearly out of pitches, the Bears brought in Tucker Hale to relieve.

Brady Moretz draw a two-out walk, but Hale stranded him there to close the door on the comeback.

The squads were evenly matched from first pitch to last. Each scored a run in the 1st. Houston plated one in the 3rd and Tift immediately responded with two runs. The Bears knotted the score at 3 in the 5th.

Gann doubled to begin the day, Tift only able to get a glove on a scorcher down the line. He went to third on a wild pitch, with Jackson bringing him home on a groundout to shortstop.

The Devils wasted no time posting a run of their own.

John Davis hammered Houston's second pitch of the night well over the right field wall for a solo homer. Tift got Moretz to third in the frame on a walk, steal and sac bunt, but Tankersley hunkered down to escape without more damage.

Jackson took a one-out walk in the 3rd, Houston trading a run for an out on a grounder by Ethan Buffone.

In the bottom half, Tift loaded the bags with Davis, Moretz and VanSumeren with one out. Dorman hit a slow roller for Davis to score. Houston booted a ball on the infield to bring home Moretz for a 3-2 lead.

The slight advantage held until the 5th. Gann was the accelerant again, starting off the frame with a single. He moved to second on a bunt and came in on an error to tie the game. Tift's Ryan Whitley performed miracle work to keep the Bears from getting any more.

With the bases full and one out, Whitley threw a perfect pitch, resulting in a grounder to Moretz at shortstop. He flipped to Tyler Holmes at second and across to VanSumeren at first to complete the double play.

Tift head coach Greg Williams attempted to steal a run from Houston in the bottom half, but the alert Bears put a stop to it.

VanSumeren had gone from first to third on a Dorman bloop, putting runners at the corners with one out. Dorman took off for second. Houston cut off the throw before it reached the bag and threw back to the plate to catch the Devils trying to steal home. Tankersley then got a flyout to end the inning.

Moretz reached base three times for the game, Davis and VanSumeren twice. Whitley fanned three.