The Jefferson High School baseball team toppled Union County 8-1 in 10 innings Tuesday, increasing its winning streak to nine and all but locking up the region 8-AA title.
The Dragons are 18-2 overall, 10-0 in the region, no. 1 in the standings and no. 2 in Class AA.
It was Union County’s second loss to the Dragons, with the last game between the two schools lasted 11 innings. Union County (10-3, 7-2) will finish no better than no. 2, with Oglethorpe sitting at no. 3 with five games left on its region schedule.
Oglethorpe must go undefeated, and Jefferson would have to lose its remaining four region games, for the Dragons to drop from the top. The teams play each other in a doubleheader April 19.
A top-two finish secures home field advantage for the Dragons, which last lost on March 16 to Class AAAA Eastside.
“We scored a lot of runs, we just waited until the 10th to do it,” said JHS coach Tommy Knight.
The marathon game was a 1-1 stalemate through nine innings, with Jake Franklin securing the win after the Dragons offense ignited.
Union County got into pitching trouble early in the 10th inning by walking two and committing an error to put three men on base for JHS.
Micah Carpenter (3-5, 2RBI) hit a double to right center to score two runs. Another two walks loaded the bases and scored another run for the Dragons.
Max Ford (3-6, 2RBI) and Alex Gaba (1-3, 2RBI), who started the inning with a walk, had back-to-back hits to right centerfield, which each scored two runs and put the game out of reach. Union County surrendered three quick outs to end the game.
While Franklin notched the win, Carpenter pitched seven dogged innings, giving up only one run and five hits in that stretch, perhaps the longest for him of the season. Until Tuesday, JHS evenly distributed pitching responsibilities.
Also posting multiple hits for the Dragons were Andy Nicolaus (1-5, 2RBI) and Franklin (3-6).
When asked earlier in the day about his team’s performance down the stretch, Knight said: “(We’re) doing well so far. We just need to finish the season the same way we’ve started it.”
The win came on the heels of a dominating performance last Friday.
JHS demolished Washington-Wilkes during a double-header in Washington. The Dragons won each game by a 10-score in five innings. Micah Carpenter and Jake Franklin were the winning pitchers, with Trent Sorrell earning a save.
A number of hitters earned multiple RBIs with Tyler Cole, Hanon Price, Micah Carpenter and Andy Nicolaus and Jake Franklin all earning two or more.
Franklin, in particular, scorched Washington-Wilkes pitchers. He went 3-4, with 4 RBI in one game and 2-2 with 2RBI in another.
All of the Dragons remaining games are at home. The team next plays Riverside Military Academy at 5:55 p.m. Friday, followed by Rabun County at 5:55 p.m. Tuesday and then the two Oglethorpe County games.
The regular-season finale is against Commerce on April 24.