Jefferson awoke from a three-game losing skid in convincing fashion thanks to a commanding performance from pitcher Max Ford.
The senior fired a one-hitter and struck out 15 Tuesday as the Dragons (4-3) blasted visiting Elbert County 10-0. Ford faced just 24 batters.
“He was pretty dominant,” Jefferson coach Tommy Knight said. “In six innings pitched, he was right around 80 pitches, which means he was around the strike zone.”
Jefferson’s 10 runs were a season high. The Dragons finished with nine hits and swung the bat better than that total would suggest, Knight said.
“We had five or six that were just rockets at them,” Knight said. “I was happy with the way we swung it.”
Hanon Price went 3-for-3 with two RBIs and two runs, while Micah Carpenter was 2-for-3 with an RBI and two runs. Other leading hitters were Trent Sorrells (1-for-2, RBI, two runs), Alex Gaba (1-for-3, RBI, run), Christian Hutch (1-for-3, RBI, run) and Taylor Wilkes (1-for-4). Jake Franklin picked up two RBIs.
The lopsided win was a welcome change for the Dragons, who found themselves in a mini-slump after a 3-0 start.
“We’re not used to losing three in a row,” Knight said.
Jefferson lost North Oconee 2-0 on Feb. 26 and was swept in a Friday-Saturday tilt against Class AAAAAA Tift County, which Knight called a “top-notch” team.
In that series, the Dragons lost 3-2 Friday and 14-4 Saturday, a loss that Knight said left him a little disappointed.
So beating Elbert County by 10 runs Tuesday helped the Dragons move on from Saturday’s struggles.
“It was nice to get back on the winning side of things,” Knight said. “I think we played pretty well tonight (Tuesday).”
Jefferson now has a rematch with Elbert County Thursday (5:55 p.m.) on the road before returning home Friday to open Region 8-AA play with a double header against Greene County.
•TIFT COUNTY 14, JEFFERSON 4 (SATURDAY): Tift County scored seven sixth-inning runs to break open a close game with Jefferson Saturday.
Jefferson used five pitchers in the contest with Franklin taking the loss.
The Dragons held an early 2-0 lead after an RBI double from Gaba and an RBI single from Franklin. But Tift County tied the game with a two-run homer in the top of the fifth.
Then the flood gates opened in the sixth. The Blue Devils tacked on five more insurance scores in the seventh inning, and Jefferson posted two runs in the final inning.
•TIFT COUNTY 3, JEFFERSON 2 (FRIDAY): Tift County broke a 2-2 tie in the top of the sixth with an RBI double from Will Reinhardt, and the Blue Devils held on to beat the Dragons Friday in the series opener between the two teams.
Wilkes was 2-for-3 at the plate, and Andy Nicolaus went 1-for-3 and drove home a run in the first inning when he hit into a fielders’ choice.
Carpenter took the loss, throwing five and one-third innings, allowing six hits, three runs (all earned), walking one and striking out eight.
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