Championship series starts today (Thurs.) at 5 p.m. at West Jackson Park
JACKSON County’s late-season surge has continued into the region tournament.
The third-seeded Panthers (15-14-1) beat sixth-seed Elbert County and second-seed Morgan County Wednesday at West Jackson Park to secure a spot in the state tournament and advance to the Region 8-AAA championship. Click here for pictures.
“These girls, they don’t let up,” Jackson County coach Chessie Laird said. “We’ve been working so hard. We’ve played a very tough schedule. We’ve done all we can to put us where we want to be.”
Jackson County, which has won 12 of its last 17 games, will face fifth-seed Franklin County (21-8) in a best-of-three series for the 8-AAA title. The teams will play a double header Thursday at West Jackson Park starting at 5 p.m. The third game — if needed — will move to Jackson County Comprehensive High School Saturday. The time has yet to be announced.
It was certainly an eventful first day at the region tournament for Jackson County.
The Panthers beat Elbert County 7-5 with a walk-off home run by Jessica Baker in the opening round. Baker then threw seven innings and earned the win as Jackson County beat Morgan County 6-4 in the second round. The Bulldogs put runners at second and third and brought the winning run to the plate but Baker picked up a strikeout to end the game.
“She has done a tremendous job — her and Peyton (Sorrells) both,” Laird said of her two starting pitchers Wednesday. “Neither one of them pitched at the varsity level last year. Jessica didn’t pitch at all last year for us. To be able to count on them as sophomores to come in in such pressure situations, they both did a great job.”
In the region championship series, Jackson County will face a Franklin County team that beat North Oconee and then upset no. 1 seed Oconee County.
“Like I said before, this is a very competitive region,” Laird said. “There are a lot of great teams. Just on any given day, whoever comes to play, is who is going to take it home.”
Regardless of what happens in the region championship series, Jackson County has a spot in the Class AAA state tournament and will have home field advantage for the first two rounds.
“These girls, they work so hard,” Laird said. “It’s a very special group. I’ve with most of them throughout their middle school career and their high school career … I couldn’t be happier. It’s really a special time for us.”
See the Oct. 10 issue of The Jackson Herald for more coverage.