JACKSON COUNTY split its series with Hart County in a pair of games highlighted by dominant pitching performances.
The Panthers’ Jalen Banks threw a two-hitter Friday night in Jackson County’s 2-1 win, while Hart County’s Wade Martin answered with a one-hitter Monday night in the Bulldogs’ 5-1 win.
“What a series,” Jackson County coach Tommy Fountain said. “Jalen Banks throws a two-hitter for us on Friday, and then we run into a guy on the mound that has been hot for them and he throws a one-hitter.”
Fountain noted that there were a total of just 15 hits combined between the two teams in both games.
With the Panthers ahead 1-0 in Monday’s game, Jesse Tallent (3-2) ran into trouble in the top of the third when he hit the first batter and walked the next two. Three doubles later, it was 5-1.
Austin Robinson — who also pitched the final four innings for the Panthers — managed Jackson County’s only hit with a two-out single in the top of the third that gave the Panthers the brief lead.
“I was very pleased with Austin Robinson,” Fountain said. “He had a huge two-out hit to give us a lead in the third and pitched his rear end off when we brought him in the game in the third inning. He needed that after a rough outing last time out. He was feeling a little under the weather, but really bowed his neck. Unfortunately, we just couldn’t get the bats going.”
Martin threw seven innings for Hart County, surrendering four walks in addition to the one hit.
In Banks’ dominating performance Friday, the senior carried a no-hitter through five and one-third innings. He gave up one run on two hits while striking out nine.
Williams led Jackson County offensively with a 2-for-2 night at the plate with a double and two RBIs.
Fountain said Jackson County has its “backs against the wall a little bit” now in the subregion but notes that his group has already played three of the four toughest series on its schedule.
“We’ve just got to get on a roll and win each moment and each game that comes our way,” he said. “We’ve only made five errors in our first six subregion games. If anyone had told me we’d make only five errors in six games and be sitting at 2-4, I’d have laughed at them. It just shows how strong this subregion is.”