“That was huge,” Jefferson coach Tommy Knight said. “It was a close ball game. It could have gone either way until he hits that ball. As soon as he hits that ball you’ve got a sense of relief.”
Jefferson pounded out 11 hits and enjoyed its highest scoring night of the season as it got back over the .500 mark overall and moved to 2-2 in subregion play.
Tyler Cole also had a big night for Jefferson offensively, going 2-for-4 with two RBIs. His two-out, two-run double to left centerfield in the bottom of the third broke a 1-1 tie, and Jefferson never trailed the rest of the way.
Max Ford (2-for-3, RBI) and Andy Nicolas (2-for-4, RBI) also enjoyed multi-hit nights for Jefferson. Ryan Johnson (1-for-3) also collected an RBI.
Austin Robinson went 1-for-3 for Jackson County, leading the game off with a home run. Quinn Grogan was 1-for-3 with two RBIs.
Jefferson’s win avenged a 9-5 loss to Jackson County just two days earlier and gave the Dragons a season split with the rival Panthers.
“Monday, that was a tough ball game,” Knight said. “I didn’t think we played real well and they did. And today was kind of opposite. You just flip-flop Monday’s game and you get today’s game. You don’t want to split but you know after Monday’s result, we’re excited about splitting.”
Jefferson knocked Jackson County starting pitcher Austin Robinson out of the game in the fourth inning with the Dragons ahead 3-1. Panther reliever Kolin Zimmer retired two of the first three batters he faced but surrendered a single to Micah Carpenter to load the bases. Zimmer then walked in a run and served up the grand slam to Bartek.
Carpenter pitched a complete game for Jefferson, allowing seven hits, three runs (one earned) and two walks while striking out three.
“Oh, gosh, the kid is just a competitor,” Knight said. “He just gets in there and battles no matter what happens. Nothing fazes him. Guys get hits off him, he keeps coming at them. For a dang freshman, he’s got a lot of poise and he’s a competitor and he’s been very successful for us.”
Jefferson moves on to a Friday road showdown with no. 10 North Oconee to open a two-game series with the Titans. North Oconee returns the trip Monday. Jefferson then has a week off.
“They’re good,” Knight said of North Oconee. “They’ve got a really good pitcher. The (Blake) Gaubert kid is really really good. He’s shut everybody down. They shut Elbert down Monday. So if we can go in and split with them, we’ll be happy with that.”