NEEDING a big home win, the Jefferson baseball team suffered a rare home loss.
No. 6 Elbert County shut out the Dragons (9-8, 5-5) until the seventh inning Monday in a 7-2 win over Jefferson to sweep the season series.
“We did not swing it much tonight until the last inning,” Jefferson coach Tommy Knight said. “We hit some balls hard but right at them and not consistently enough against a good team.”
This was Jefferson’s first home subregion loss this season. The Dragons had won five straight overall at Horace Jackson Field.
Jefferson’s lone offensive highlight came in the final inning when Max Ford blasted a two-run homer to left field. The Dragons finished with five hits but managed just two during the first six innings.
Austin Thompson had the only multi-hit night for the Dragons, going 2-for-3 with a double.
Dragon starter Matt Bowen took the loss. He worked three innings, giving up four hits, three unearned runs and two walks while striking out three.
Elbert County scored a run in the second inning and separated itself from the Dragons with a three-run inning in the fourth. The Blue Devils then added an insurance run in the fifth and two more in the sixth.
Jefferson’s home loss followed a close ball game between these teams Friday in Elberton. Jefferson lost that game 3-2 after rallying for two scores in the top of the seventh.
“We had a chance to win that ball game late,” Knight said of the Friday loss. “I thought we would play a little better tonight.”
Jefferson — currently in fourth-place in 8-AA South – now moves on to a two-game series with intra-county rival East Jackson to close the regular season. The Dragons must win one game against the Eagles to clinch a spot in the region playoffs.
Though one win would get it done, Jefferson knows the value of getting two wins if it can. If the Dragons are to qualify for the region tournament, they want to go in on a winning note.
“You want to go in with a little momentum and playing well,” Knight said. “You don’t want to go in back-dooring it.”
While his team has dropped two straight, Knight said he’s generally pleased with how his team is playing. The two losses came to a pretty good Elbert County club, he noted.
“Elbert County is a good team,” Knight said. “They’ve got some pitching and some guys who can swing it.”