JEFFERSON had the big-name opponent and the lively home atmosphere to boot. The only thing missing was the upset.
Five-time defending state champion Buford scored six unanswered runs Monday night to beat Jefferson 8-2 in front of a packed house at Demaris Gurley Field. Click here for photos.
Dragon coach Melissa Mullis was both proud of how her team played and frustrated by its costly miscues. Jefferson (3-4) committed five errors on the afternoon.
“We played really, really well, and then we had a bad inning,” Mullis said.
Jefferson starter Morgan McKinney pitched a complete game in a performance that drew praise from Mullis. McKinney surrendered only two earned runs.
“Morgan couldn’t have done a batter job pitching-wise, setting us up,” Mullis said. “But we’re young in our middle infield and it just showed.”
The Dragons scored their runs off an RBI single from Emily Dufty (2-for-4) in the second inning and an RBI double from Meagan Faulkner (2-for-3) in the third inning.
Mullis said the Buford loss exposed her team’s weaknesses.
“We are just not fundamentally sound yet,” Mullis said. “But we will be.”
She added that she’ll look at the loss positively.
“I’m not going to look at it negatively,” Mullis said. “I’m going to see that this is what we need to do better.”
Despite the setback, Mullis appreciated the charged atmosphere that Jefferson fans created for a game against such a highly-regarded opponent.
“I’m proud of our fans,” she said. “That was amazing.”
Mullis came into the tournament enthused by her team’s six-game showing in the Lanier Open Tournament, which included games against two Class AAAAAA schools.
Jefferson opened with a 6-3 win over Johns Creek (a Class AAAAAA team that won 20 games last year) and followed with a 3-1 victory over Fannin County (a Class AAA team that won 22 games last fall).
Following a three-game losing streak (Jefferson fell to Habersham Central, Union County and Gilmer County), the Dragons capped the tournament with a 7-0 win over Gilmer County.
Several Dragons stepped up over the multi-day event.
Against Johns Creek, Jordan Phillips led Jefferson offensively, going 1-for-2 with two RBIs. Savannah Snapp recorded the win, pitching six innings, allowing three runs (two of which were earned), six hits and two walks.
In the win over Fannin County, Jefferson was sparked by Dufty (1-for-2, RBI), McKinney (1-for-3, RBI), Faulkner (1-for-3) and Snapp (RBI).
Lindsey Miles, Cason Anderson and Rachel Holly had the only hits in Jefferson’s loss to Habersham Central.
Against Union County, Miles enjoyed a 2-for-3 afternoon, driving in three runs. Emily Holman also had a multi-hit day going 2-for-3 with an RBI.
In the loss to Wesleyan, Miles, Holman and Anderson supplied the only hits.
As for the bounce-back win over Gilmer County, Dufty was 3-for-3, and Miles was 3-for-3 with an RBI. McKinney meanwhile was 2-for-3 with three RBIs. McKinney also got the win from the pitchers’ circle, working four shutout innings and allowing two hits.