JEFFERSON’S baseball roster may be chock full of youngsters, but the Dragons demonstrated some veteran-like mettle in a huge win Monday night.
The Dragons squandered a 9-2 sixth inning lead against region-leading North Oconee, only to win the ball game in the bottom of the eight with an RBI single from Kevin Ross. Click here for game photos.
“You don’t ever want to lose the lead, but the way they couldn’t have folded the tent after that, and didn’t … that seemed to get them more fired up,” coach Tommy Knight said.
The victory over the Titans, who now fall to third in Region 8-AA South, gives Jefferson much-needed momentum heading into its next few games. The Dragons face Oglethorpe County today (Wednesday), East Jackson Friday and Hart County Monday.
At 3-5 in the region standings and in fifth place in 8-AA South, Jefferson needs victories over teams – like Oglethorpe County and East Jackson – who are close to them in the region standings. The Dragons also play fourth-place Jackson County next Wednesday. The Dragons are gunning for a top four finish in the subregion to qualify for the region tournament next month.
“We’ve got to beat those teams,” Knight said.
As for Hart County, Jefferson will again try to knock off the first-place Bulldogs after coming up short in the first meeting – a 7-5 loss in Jefferson.
“I don’t think there’s anybody in the region we can’t beat,” Knight said. “We’ve just got to be more consistent and play with more of an edge.”
Jefferson proved as much in Monday’s win over North Oconee.
Austin Thompson hit a grand slam in the fourth inning and Jefferson added two more scores that inning to take a 6-2 lead. Jefferson then plated three more insurance runs in the fifth.
The Titans, however, answered with seven runs in the sixth to force extra innings after neither team scored in the seventh.
Ross then delivered a game-winning hit in the bottom of the eighth with two outs to bring home Nathan Carson.
“Oh, it’s a big confidence booster, not only to win a game like that, but for it to be against one of the best teams in the region,” Knight said.
Ross finished 2-for-6 with two RBIs, while Max Ford and Jason Demos were both 3-for-4 with an RBI. Other top hitters were Jesse Tallent, who was 3-for-4 with a pair of runs, and Nathan Carson, who was 2-for-3 with three runs scored.
Drew Carson started and pitched six innings before giving way to Matt Bowen in the seventh. Bowen worked two shut out innings for the victory.
The Dragons’ big win came three days after the Jefferson offense was handcuffed a 5-1 road loss to the Elbert County Friday. The Blue Devil starter Chance Yeargin tossed a one-hitter, striking out 15. He allowed just one walk in addition to the lone hit.
The Dragons led 1-0 briefly but Elbert County scored four times in the bottom of the fourth and once more in the third to hand Jefferson its fifth region loss.
Drew Carson managed the only hit for the Dragons, going 1-for-3 and driving home Jefferson’s only run.
Matt Bowen started and worked three innings, allowing three hits and five runs – only one of which was earned. Jefferson committed four errors.