JACKSON County went 3-1 over the weekend in its Summer Shootout and saw some players make a bid for more playing time in 2015.
The tournament concluded the Panthers’ summer league schedule.
“A couple of kids threw themselves into the mix I think with this weekend in making things interesting,” coach Tommy Fountain said.
Bringing up several players from the junior varsity level, Jackson County — which went 19-9 this past spring — beat Cairo 6-1, Lumpkin County 10-6 and Mountain View 10-1 over the course of the tournament, which ran from Thursday to Saturday. Its only loss was to North Hall, 4-2.
Fountain said rising sophomore Caleb Matthews took advantage of his first extended playing time and enjoyed “a tremendous weekend.”
“He looked good defensively, and he swung the bat well … he looked really good,” Fountain said.
Matthews’ performance may push up his timetable for being a varsity contributor.
“He had an opportunity to get a bunch of time, and lo and behold, he really got it done,” Fountain said.
Meanwhile, rising senior Jake Algard, coming off knee surgery last year, homered in the final game against Mountain View.
“That was a good sign,” Fountain said. “We lost a bunch of big boppers, so we need some guys on our roster that have the ability to swing it and do damage with one swing.”
Fountain also said Ty Smith did well offensively, especially in hitting the ball to the opposite field.
“Ty was unreal,” Fountain said. “He hammered the ball all weekend. He’s really, this summer, solidified himself somewhere like a three, four or five guy (in the lineup) for us.”
The Panthers scored 44 runs over the span of their final six summer games after struggling earlier in the summer offensively. Fountain said that was particularly encouraging.
“That was kind of the thing we wanted to see the last two weeks — could we offensively show a little more firepower?” Fountain said.
On the mound, Jackson County enjoyed its usual strong pitching performances from Coleman Barbee and Jeremy Cook while Chuckie Allen and Brian Smith — who have split time between the junior varsity and varsity — took advantage of a pair of starts.
“Both were lights out,” Fountain said.
The coach said his team accomplished a lot over the summer, but still has a few things to sort out.
“We’ve still got some spots that are open,” Fountain said. “I still don’t know that I could write a lineup tomorrow, but we’ve been at least able to narrow it down.”