JEFFERSON couldn’t parlay its round one region playoff series win over Banks County into a second-round upset of no. 7 North Oconee.
The Titans (19-4) swept the Dragons (13-11) in two games Monday in Bogart — winning 3-1 and 10-1 — to relegate Jefferson to the third-fourth place game Friday against Elbert County, which is ranked no. 2 in AA.
Jefferson, which beat Banks County in three games in the opening round, hopes to earn a no. 3 seed for the state playoffs to avoid playing the no. 1 seed out of Region 7-AA.
“Calhoun is usually pretty good (in that region),” Jefferson coach Tommy Knight said. “So we’d like to try to play the no. 2 instead of the no. 1 if we can.”
Friday’s third-fourth place game also allows Jefferson the chance to go into the state playoffs with some positive energy after struggling Monday.
“We’ve got a bad taste in our mouth about tonight,” Knight said. “We need to get back to practice tomorrow and get to work and get this taste out of all of our mouths and, like I said, get ready to go again.”
The Dragons surrendered three unearned runs in a 3-1 game one loss and experienced some early-inning defensive problems in a 10-1 loss in the nightcap.
“We just didn’t play very well,” Knight said. “Credit them (North Oconee) … we played bad and the result is a 3-1 and 10-1 loss. You get what you get when you don’t play very well.”
North Oconee scored its first run in game one in the bottom of the third after a throw from pitcher Matt Bowen to first baseman Andrew Bartek off a John Jarrard bunt ended up in right field, allowing the Titans’ Carter Warden to score.
Garrett Green then doubled home Jarrard to put North Oconee up 2-0.
Jefferson scored its lone run with a fifth-inning sacrifice fly from Andy Nicolas that brought home Max Ford from third to cut the lead to 2-1.
North Oconee took advantage of two Jefferson miscues in the bottom of the sixth to add another run as Ryan Healan reached base via error and then eventually scored off an error.
Bowen started and took the loss, pitching five and two-thirds innings. He surrendered four hits and the three unearned runs while walking three and striking out seven.
North Oconee pitcher Blake Gaubert, who struggled against Jefferson back in March, went the distance Monday, allowing one run off four hits. He walked two and struck out seven.
Jefferson got off to a rocky start in game two as North Oconee scored four first-inning runs, three of which were unearned as a result of three Dragon errors.
“I felt like after that we were just kind of — I don’t know — we didn’t put forth the effort I thought we needed to,” Knight said. “And that’s my fault.”
The Titans added to their lead with an RBI single from Healan in the top of the third before Jefferson scored its lone run in the bottom half of the inning when Micah Carpenter grounded into a fielder’s choice to drive in a run.
North Oconee broke the game open in the top of the fifth with five runs, three of which came off a double from Thad Glenn.
Max Ford started but worked just two innings, surrendering four runs (three unearned) off two hits. He hit one batter, walked one batter and struck out four. Meanwhile, North Oconee starter Ethan Thornton threw a two-hitter. He walked three and struck out five.