Overcoming the pre-game jitters of its home opener, Jefferson remained unscathed in Region 8-AA play with a 5-1 victory over winless Elbert County Tuesday.
“We were a little tense,” senior shortstop Summer Bartek explained “It was our first home game.”
Bartek helped ease the tension with a two-run blast to left center in the third inning that gave the Dragons (5-2, 2-0) a 4-1 cushion. It was Bartek’s first home run in high school ball.
“I was just thinking we need to get started,” she said after the game, holding the homerun ball. “We needed to get some runs on the board.”
Coach Brad Puckett also said the team started a bit tense, noting that this squad is still a little young.
“I just think we tightened up a little bit,” he said. “We started out this way against Hart County last week.“
Thanks to a solid pitching performance, Jefferson wouldn’t need many runs.
Kara Perry picked up a complete-game victory, notching her second victory of the year.
Bartek said this Jefferson team now “is absolutely going in the right direction” at 2-0 in region play.
“We have such chemistry on the team,” she said. “Everybody gets along. Everybody does their part. At practice, it’s just so much fun to have 13 girls who are wanting to work as hard as they possibly can.”
After the game, the Dragons anxiously awaited a matchup with three-time defending Class AA champion Buford today (Wednesday) at 4:30 p.m. in the Wolves’ own tournament.
Bartek said her team is embracing the role of underdogs.
“It’s very much one of those things that they have everything to lose and we have nothing to lose ... We get a chance to go 110 percent,” she said, noting that there’s familiarity between the two teams even though they’re not in the same region.
Puckett pointed to the underdog angle, too, saying that nobody is giving Jefferson a chance to win today’s game with no. 1-ranked Buford (Class AA.) And that’s fine with him.
“That’s what I told the girls,” Puckett said. “Nobody’s giving you a shot to beat Buford ... Nobody’s even looking at that game tomorrow. We’ve got to step in there and fight the fight.”
The tournament will also pit the Dragons against Class A’s no. 8 team, Providence, Class AA’s no. 9 team, Union County.
Both those games are Friday. The Dragons play Union County at 6:30 p.m. and Providence at 7:30 p.m.
In action last week, both Alexander and Barteck enjoyed 4-for-5 days in Thursday’s 10-2 victory over Hart County in the region opener.
Morgan McKinney pitched a complete game, allowing four hits and one earned run while striking out five.
Jefferson scored four times in the top of the third inning to take a 5-0 lead and didn’t look back. The Dragons pounded out 16 hits in the victory.
Bartek, who doubled twice, drove home three runs.
Both Jordyn Whifield (1-for-2) and Lindsey Miles had two RBIs.