IT MAY not have counted as a region win but it was perhaps the biggest win of Jefferson’s season yet.
The Dragon softball team (12-13, 4-1) upset region-leading Union County — ranked no. 2 in Class AA — 3-2 in eight innings Thursday at home on senior night.
“It was good for my girls,” Jefferson coach Melissa Mullis said. “It gave us a lot of confidence and it was much needed … regardless, it counted in my girls’ minds and hearts. Mentally it will give us a boost.”
Erin Jackson singled home Jordan Phillips in the bottom of the eighth to win the game. Jackson went 3-for-4 and drove home two runs to lead Jefferson, which pounded out 12 hits.
This was a rematch of the first and second-place teams in 8-AA, though only the teams’ Aug. 11 meeting counted in the region standings. Jefferson, who has earned a no. 2 seed for the region tournament, lost that game 9-7.
But winning on senior night in dramatic fashion still meant a lot.
“It was a lot of fun,” Mullis said. “It was a well-played game on both ends.”
Morgan McKinney produced a gutsy performance in her final home game, throwing all eight innings to earn the win. She surrendered five hits, three walks and only one earned run. McKinney struck out five batters.
Savannah Snapp was 2-for-3 with a double. Meagan Faulkner was 2-for-4. Adding hits were McKinney (1-for-4, double), Ashley Boyd (1-for-4), Phillips (1-for-4), Cason Anderson (1-for-3) and Emily Dufty (1-for-2).
The Dragons then moved on to a weekend tournament at North Hall and went 3-2.
Jefferson beat Towns County 7-1 and Brookstone 4-1 on Friday. It then lost to Brookstone (5-3) and Fannin County (3-1) on Saturday before closing the tournament with a 3-1 win over Banks County.
Against Towns County, Emily Holman went 3-for-4 with two runs and Ashley Boyd went 1-for-2 with two RBIs to lead Jefferson. Holman also pitched five innings for the win. She surrendered seven hits and an earned run and no walks while striking out six.
In the win over Brookstone, Phillips and Jackson both had 2-for-3 days at the plate and Lindsay Miles was 1-for-2 with two RBIs. McKinney threw five and one-third innings for the win. She gave up one hit, no walks and an unearned run.
In the loss to Brookstone, Miles went 2-for-3 and Holman and Cason Anderson both had one hit and an RBI.
In the setback to Fannin County, Jefferson managed just three hits with Savannah Snapp providing two of them.
Against Banks County in the final, Anderson went 3-for-3 with three RBIs. McKinney got the win, throwing five innings. She surrendered one unearned run, one walk and four hits.
“We stopped making some of the mistakes that we’ve been making,” Mullis said of the tournament. “It was a good weekend overall. It was a positive weekend."
Jefferson has three more regular season games, though only one is a Region 8-AA contest.
The Dragons will face Rabun County today on the road but this meeting won’t count in the region standings. Jefferson returns to region play Thursday on the road against Oglethorpe County. The Dragons wrap-up with a Monday game at non-region foe North Oconee.