JEFFERSON assured itself of one less worry on Senior Night this Friday.
The Dragons (10-8, 6-5) dismantled intra-county rival East Jackson 13-0 on the road Wednesday to secure a spot in the 8-AA playoffs next week.
The teams close their series — as well as the regular season — Friday at Jefferson at 5:55 p.m. with less on the line now.
“We were pleased to go ahead and get it done this game instead of having to win Friday on Senior Night,” Jefferson coach Tommy Knight said.
The Dragons plated seven runs in the first two innings and never looked back as the team surpassed its win total from last year.
Jefferson scored four runs in the first inning without the benefit of a base hit. The Dragons drew three walks against East Jackson starter Caleb Hardy and scored their first two runs off an error. Austin Thompson later scored on a double steal, and Andy Nicolas brought home another run by grounding out to short.
Jefferson benefitted from an East Jackson error and two more walks in the second inning, loading the bases for Max Ford. Ford took full advantage, smashing a three-run double to put the Dragons up 7-0.
Knight said his team simply got hits at the right time.
“We did something that we really haven’t done all year,” said Knight, who pointed to Jefferson’s .201 batting average with runners in scoring position. “We got some guys on and got a couple of big hits.”
Jefferson scored two more times in the fourth inning off a wild pitch and a balk. The Dragons added four more insurance runs in the seventh, scoring one off an error, two off a double from Patrick Martin and another off a single from Alex Gaba.
On the mound, Ford threw four shutout innings for the win, surrendering two hits and three walks and striking out five. Reliever Jacob Page didn't surrender a hit in three innings of work.
The 13-run outburst from Jefferson came after a disappointing 7-2 loss to no. 6 Elbert County Monday. Knight said he was pleased with how his team responded.
“That was big,” Knight said. “We haven’t scored a lot of runs on the road this year, period. To score 13 was big for us.”