For Jefferson’s softball team, it’s now a series of one-game seasons.
(Note: For coverage of JHS's recent rematch with Jackson County, see the story and photos).
Relegated to the loser’s bracket of the Region 8-AA tournament after an 8-0 loss to Dawson County Tuesday, the Dragons responded with a 10-2 victory over Oglethorpe County later that afternoon to keep its state tournament hopes alive.
“Again, a sign of maturity,” Jefferson coach Brad Puckett said. “Last year’s team, getting beat like that, we would have folded and we didn’t. We came out swinging the bat.”
Jefferson (22-8-1) plays at North Oconee at 5 p.m. Thursday against the loser of North Oconee and Fannin County as it continues to vie for one of the four passes to the state tournament out of Region 8-AA.
The team is so focused on its next game, Puckett hadn’t really studied the bracket to know exactly many more games his team would have to win to qualify for state.
“Obviously, we can’t worry about that,” he said. “We’ve got to win one step at a time. Obviously, that’s going to be a tall order.”
After beating Rabun County 11-1 Monday to start region tournament, Jefferson ran into a Dawson County team swinging a number of hot bats in the eight-run loss.
“Dawson County is the most dangerous team in this thing without a doubt with the way they’re swinging the bat ... They just jumped on us, got hot and stayed on us,” Puckett said.
Dawson County scored four times in the sixth inning to bring the run rule into effect
“Sometimes they just stay hot on you and they did,” Puckett said. “It was just their day.”
But Jefferson didn’t stay down long, run-ruling Oglethorpe County in five innings. Jefferson scored four times in the fourth and four more times in the fifth to end the game early.
Anna Alexander and Lindsey Miles went 2-for-3 with three RBIs. Puckett said the win over the Patriots was encouraging.
“I felt good because Oglethorpe has got a heck of a pitcher ... For us to struggle as bad as we did against Dawson and come out and put up 10 runs against them,” Puckett said. “We did the little things right the second game.”
Morgan McKinney earned the win from the mound, working five innings, allowing six hits, two earned runs and striking out six.
As for the region tournament opener one day earlier, Kara Perry pitched a run-rule shortened no-hitter in the rout of Rabun County.
The Dragons scored four runs in the first, five in the second and two in the third. The game was called in the fifth inning due to the mercy rule.
Kasey McDonald led Jefferson with a 2-for-3 day with four RBIs. Jordyn Whitfield also went 2-for-3. She had two RBIs.