JEFFERSON was eliminated from the first-round of the state playoffs Friday after Greater Atlanta Christian’s Justin Lewis blasted an eighth-inning walk-off home run in a 7-6 Spartan win that completed a doubleheader sweep of the Dragons.
Top-seeded Jefferson (21-5) came into the game riding an 18-game winning streak but lost the first game 3-1 to the visiting no. 4 seed from Region 6-AA and then fell in the dramatic night cap.
"It was two very good ball games," Jefferson coach Tommy Knight said. "That's a great team right there. That's the best four-seed team you'll see anywhere at any time."
The Dragons led the first game 1-0 until the top of the sixth inning when GAC (14-11) struck for two runs and then an insurance run in the top of the seventh.
Jefferson tried to rally in the bottom of the seventh, but what seemed like a sure extra base hit from Trent Sorrells with a runner on base was taken away with a leaping grab from Spartan left fielder Conner Joseph.
The second game was very much a see-saw affair with three lead changes through six innings.
With Jefferson trailing 6-5 and down to its final out in the top of the seventh (the Dragons played as the visiting team in game two), Andy Nicolaus blooped a single that got past GAC’s right fielder and allowed Trent Sorrells to score from first, tying the game at 6-6.
But GAC trumped that dramatic moment with Lewis’ blast in the eighth, putting an early end to Jefferson’s postseason run.
Knight said he was very proud of how his team, however.
"We battled. We fought. And we came back in the top of the seventh to score the run to tie the game up, and I'm proud of everyone of them," Knight said.
For complete coverage of this state tournament doubleheader, see the May 7 edition of The Jackson Herald.