Jefferson was playing its best baseball of the season and now will not play another baseball game for quite a while.
The Dragons (6-7) trounced Stephens County 15-2 Thursday (March 12) on the road, earning their fifth-straight win. But uncertainty surrounds everyone's season as the outbreak of the coronavirus has led to the closure of schools and the suspension of athletic events.
Jefferson has closed schools and postponed athletic events until April 6.
The events of this season are the most unique Jefferson coach Tommy Knight has experienced in three decades of coaching.
First came the inordinate number of rainouts to start the season.
Now comes a break in the season as the nation and world cope with coronavirus.
“This is by far — in 31 years — the most bizarre year or season I’ve ever seen,” Knight said on Friday morning.
The shutdown comes as the Dragons were rolling following a 1-7 start. In addition to the five-straight wins, the 15 runs and 15 hits accrued Thursday (March 12) were both season highs. Six Dragons enjoyed multi-hit nights, led by Kade McNally who went 2-for-3 with five RBIs. Others with multiple hits were Bowman Horn (2-for-4, RBI), Mason Cooper (2-for-4), Brycen Jewell (2-for-3), Nick Sellers (2-for-2) and Landon Richards (2-for-3, two RBIs). Nine different Jefferson players finished with a hit.
The Dragons committed just one error.
“This is the first time all year we’ve played like we’re capable of playing,” Knight said. “We put it all together: pitching, defense and we swung the bats really well.”
Jefferson led Stephens County 4-2 after two innings, and then gave itself some cushion with two more runs in the top of the fourth inning to take a 6-2 lead. Then the Dragons found another gear, plating five runs in the top of the fifth inning and four more in the top of the sixth inning.
“It was good to break out and score a bunch of runs like that,” Knight said, “because we’ve been struggling some this year to score some runs.”
Rem Maxwell started and threw four innings, allowing three hits, two runs (both earned) with no walks and five strikeouts. Kallon Cook and Brycen Jewell both came on and each worked a perfect inning of relief.
Of course, the night — much like this season — wasn’t without something abnormal.
“Our bus broke down coming home from Stephens County,” Knight said. “We were sitting on the interstate late (Thursday) night watching the semis go by. We said on the way home, ‘If it can happen in baseball, it happened in 2020.’”