Jefferson baseball coach Tommy Knight had hoped his team would have a breakout performance offensively sooner or later, and his wish was granted Wednesday night.
Trent Sorrells hit a grand slam, Jake Franklin smashed a three-run homer and Hanon Price hit a solo home run as Jefferson powered past rival Commerce 17-6 on the road.
“Obviously, that’s the best we’ve swung the bats all year,” Knight said. “I’m happy with the way we hit the ball. Commerce has got pretty good pitching, and we swung the bat very well.”
With the victory, Jefferson (8-3) extended its winning streak to five games as it gets set for a Thursday showdown at home with Wesleyan, which reached the Class AA Elite Eight last year.
Jefferson came into the contest with just one homer on the year but took advantage of Commerce's small ballpark.
Franklin tagged his three-run shot as part of a six-run first inning for the Dragons. Jefferson added three more runs in the second and plated a run in the fourth and fifth innings each. Franklin then drew a bases-loaded walk in the sixth to up the lead to 12-4 and set up Sorrells, who crushed a pitch over the centerfield wall. Price followed with a solo shot to centerfield as well.
“Hitting is contagious,” Knight said. “When a few guys start swinging it, everybody swings it. It’s just always that way. Hopefully, not only can we swing it within one game, we can build from game-to-game, and keep swinging it and get a little confidence at the plate.”
The Dragons finished with 14 hits. Franklin and Sorrells both went 2-for-3 with four RBIs each. Franklin also scored four runs. Price went 2-for-4 with three RBIs.
Micah Carpenter went 3-for-5 at the plate with an RBI and also started on the mound, throwing five innings for the victory. He gave up five hits, four runs (all earned) and four walks while striking out six.
Knight said Carpenter didn’t have his best stuff but was able to limit the Commerce bats for the most part.
“It’s nice when you can not throw your best and only give up a few bloop hits and they only score four runs on you with the wind blowing out,” Knight said. “That’s good if that’s a bad day for you.”
Sorrells pitched the final inning, surrendering two runs.