Jackson County had all of what it needed early — beautiful weather, a large sun-splashed home crowd and a 1-0 lead.
While the sunshine and crowd held, the lead disappeared quickly. Class AAAAA No. 2-ranked Loganville plated seven second-inning runs, six of which game with two outs, en route to a 13-3 win over Jackson County in a rare early-afternoon game Tuesday (April 6).
Jackson County (15-8, 4-5) closes this two-game series Wednesday (April 7) at 1 p.m. at Loganville.
Loganville (16-5, 7-1 Region 8-AAAAA) tied the game 1-1 in the top of the second inning with a sacrifice fly from Daniel Braswell, but the crucial portion of the inning proved to be what followed. With two outs, Jackson Chizek broke the tie with a two-run single and the three-time defending state champions added four more runs to open up a large lead.
“This has been a problem that we’ve had in the past,” Jackson County coach Matt Bolt said. “You can’t give good teams extra bags or extra opportunities.”
The Red Devils’ two-out hit parade included an RBI single from Riley Cruce, a two-run double from Chan Haulk and an RBI single from Michael Mason.
Loganville led 7-1 entering the bottom of the second inning.
Braswell then tattooed a two-run, third-inning home run that pelted the roof of the Jackson County campus ag barn past the right field wall, increasing the lead to 9-1. The Red Devils’ advantage grew to 11-1 in the fourth inning, followed by a two-run shot from Will Cawthon in the fifth inning to push the lead to 13-2, bringing the run rule into effect.
Bolt pointed to fielding miscues and free bases in the loss that helped to fuel Loganville’s scoring opportunities.
“You give really good teams extra outs to play with, they make it count,” he said. “That’s a three-time defending state champion and the No. 2 team in the state. You can’t give them freebies.”
Loganville finished with 12 hits, while the Panthers were held to four, the biggest of which was a two-out, first-inning triple from Ayden Griswold (1-for-3) that gave Jackson County a 1-0 lead. But the Panthers didn’t score again until the fourth inning when Phillip Glander hit into a double play, scoring Jake Stinchcomb.
Bryson Evans, who went 1-for-2, drove home a run in the fifth inning with a sacrifice fly.
Jackson County returns to action quickly with its Wednesday trip to Loganville. Panther ace Kedric Zimmer is scheduled to start.
“Any time that you get to turn around and kind of flush the previous game, then it’s a good thing, especially when you’ve got Ked on the bump,” Bolt said. “Our kids play really well behind Ked. Ked’s going to pound the zone. He’s going to give us a chance to win, so we’re excited about it. We’re excited for the opportunity to see what our kids can do.”
GREENBRIER 5, JACKSON CO. 1
Prior to facing Loganville, Jackson County lost to Greenbrier 5-1 Thursday (April 1) as it was swept in a two-game region series with the No. 3-ranked Wolfpack last week.
The Panthers trailed just 2-1 entering the top of the seventh inning but surrendered three runs — two of which came off a triple from Brayden Collett — and were unable to answer in the bottom half of the inning.
Justin Ethridge (1-for-3) drove in Jackson County’s only run with an RBI single in the bottom of the third inning to score Spencer Muffuletto.