Max Ford both homered and delivered a game-winning, two-run single Wednesday night to lead Jefferson to a 5-4 win over Oconee County at home.
Ford, a University of Georgia signee, stepped to the plate with the bases loaded and two-outs in the bottom of the seventh and ripped a two-strike single to left field, scoring Jake Franklin and Trent Sorrells, who beat the throw home for the winning run.
Ford also turned in a quality start from the mound in a no-decision, working four innings, surrendering one unearned run, three hits and a walk and striking out two.
"There's a reason he (Ford) is where he's at and where he's going and all that," Dragon coach Tommy Knight said. "That's awesome. He stepped up twice for us tonight — a couple of big hits and on the mound he did an awesome job for us."
With Jefferson (2-0) down 1-0 in the bottom of the second inning, Ford hit a solo homer to centerfield to get the Dragons on the board.
Sorrells then drove home a run in the bottom of the third (RBI single), and Taylor Wilkes grounded into a fielder's choice at second base in the bottom of the fourth to bring home a run from third, giving Jefferson a 3-1 lead. Oconee County (0-2), however, pulled ahead with three runs in the top of the fifth due in part to three walks and a Dragon error.
"We made some mistakes, some bad things happened, but we kept competing," Knight said. "Our heads never dropped. We kept plugging. Guys in the dugout kept telling each other, "Let's go; keep it up.' That's what's going to win you big ballgames. If you handle adversity the right way, you're going to win big ball games."
Franklin earned the win on the mound, working two innings of scoreless relief to hold the Oconee County bats at bay until Jefferson rallied in the seventh. Franklin surrendered no hits and two walks while striking out three.
Jefferson returns to action Saturday (1 p.m.) at North Oconee.
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