ONE DAY after a big win over Wesleyan, Jefferson got a needed win over region foe Union County.
The Dragons won their 15th consecutive game, beating the Panthers 3-1 Thursday at home to remain undefeated in region play and move a step closer to clinching another region title. But much like the first meeting between the two teams, the victory didn’t come easy for Jefferson.
“Every time we play them, it seems like it’s a close ball game … I don’t know if we were a little bit flat after going to Wesleyan and beating them,” said coach Tommy Knight, who noted that his team had to rally in the seventh inning to beat Union County March 19.
The Dragons play today (Wednesday) at Rabun County at 5:55 p.m. and close the Region 8-AA slate Saturday with a doubleheader at Oglethorpe County (11 a.m.).
Against Union County, Micah Carpenter threw a complete game to earn the win, allowing one run and five hits. He walked one and struck out nine. At the plate, Carpenter (1-for-2, double), Max Ford (1-for-3) and Jake Franklin (1-for-3) all drove home one run each, while Christian Hutch went 2-for-3 with a double and scored a run.
Overall, Knight said his team got the job done.
“Micah threw the ball really well again,” Knight said. “We did enough to score some runs, and we played good defense. So it was a good win for us.”
•DRAGONS RANKED NO. 1 IN POLL: Jefferson moved up to the no. 1 spot in the Atlanta-Journal Constitution’s Class AA poll last week and remained there this week. Knight said that distinction “means absolutely nothing at this point.”
“If we’re no. 1 come May 28 or 29 then, I’ll be happy,” he said. “That’s the one that counts.”
•JEFFERSON 8, WESLEYAN 6 (APRIL 9): The venue was bigger, but the result was the same for Jefferson as it beat Wesleyan at Georgia Gwinnett College in a non-region game last Wednesday.
Hutch went 2-for-3 with a triple and two RBIs, Franklin was 3-for-4 with a triple and an RBI and Hanon Price enjoyed a 3-for-4 night at the plate with two doubles. Alex Gaba (1-for-2) also had a pair of RBIs, while Trent Sorrells and Ford (1-for-3) also drove home one run each.
“We saw their best pitching too, so I was very pleased with how we hit it,” Knight said.
Franklin earned the win in relief, throwing two innings. Ford pitched the final two innings for the save.
“We got some guys some innings today that hadn’t thrown a whole lot,” Knight said. “Jake Franklin hadn’t thrown very much and he came in and did a good job for us. Of course, Max in there closing it out, we wanted to see if we could win that ball game.”
Not only did the victory extend a Dragon winning streak that started back in early March, it gave Jefferson a season sweep over the team that knocked it out of the state playoffs last year.
The Dragons beat Wesleyan 1-0 back in mid-March, but this game unfolded in a much different fashion with the teams combining for 14 runs and 20 hits.
“Our guys competed,” Knight said. “It was back-and-forth. It was a fun game to watch.”
Of course, playing at a college venue made the game fun, too.
“Oh gosh, this is a nice place,” Knight said of the Georgia Gwinnett stadium. “Nobody knows this place is down here. It’s a gem.”