A very heated rivalry
Winless and in need of a morale boost, Columbia was just looking to have some fun Monday night.
The Tigers hoped that would be enough against their nearby rivals.
And by the time the first inning was over, it was clear which team was having fun and which team just wanted to go home.
Columbia sent 14 batters to the plate in the first inning and struck for nine runs, en route to a 12-0 win over Fort White in less than four innings of play.
Harrison Shubert got the win on the mound for the Tigers, striking out eight Indians while giving up two hits in three innings of work.
“It was fun. It was just a fun game,” Shubert said. “We haven’t been having fun, we haven’t been playing together as a team, and tonight we came together and had fun.”
The game was called with one out in the top of the fourth after Fort White hitter Phillip Wooley was ejected when he bumped into Columbia first baseman Jordan Culp while getting thrown out.
Between the ejection and few subs made earlier in the night, Fort White (2-3) was down to only eight guys.
The Indians no longer had enough to play.
They had also had enough of the game.
“We’ve got to get better,” Fort White head coach Rick Julius said. “We had (two) errors, (two) walks and (two hit batters) in the first inning. We’ve got to get better.”
Fort White’s frustration reared its head in the second inning.
With Columbia (1-4) up 12-0, Tyler Myrick stole second base. Fort White pitcher Wesley Blakely then immediately threw inside to Kaleb Thomas.
That pitch hit Thomas and chipped a piece of his helmet, causing the umpires to warn both teams.
“That was one of the more intense games I’ve been a part of,” Columbia head coach Heath Phillips said.
Fort White starting pitcher Cameron Hilbert didn’t even record an out before being pulled in the first inning. He was charged with eight runs, three unearned, by the time the inning finally came to a close.
Jordan Culp led off the game with a single before Myrick laid a triple into deep centerfield to give Columbia a 1-0 lead. Thomas then hit a single to bring Myrick home to double the lead.
After TJ Price drew a walk, Jonathan Hardin hit an RBI double to extend the lead to 3-0 before Hilbert could no longer find the plate. Two hit batters and an error brought Price and Hardin home before Hilbert was finally pulled down 5-0.
Blakey took over and immediately walked in another run. Myrick then drove in a run with a fielder’s choice and Price hit a 2-RBI single two batters later to put Columbia ahead 9-0.
Culp later had a 2-RBI single in the second inning. Myrick brought in another run despite striking out when the ball got away from Fort White catcher Braden Haddox, allowing Culp to score from third base.
Blakey was responsible for the game’s final four runs, three of which were earned.
“We swung the bats a whole lot better,” Phillips said. “Our approach with two strikes was way better, so we’re taking steps, small steps, but we’re taking steps.”
Columbia’s next steps are north of the state border. The Tigers will face Valdosta on Thursday before tackling Colquitt County on Friday.