The Jefferson baseball team has opened the season at a perfect 3-0, but the Dragons face a murder’s row of highly-ranked opponents over the next week as Class AAAA’s No. 4-ranked team will quickly be put to the test.
Jefferson will play in a weekend tournament at Loganville against Class AAAA No. 3-ranked Marist Thursday (Feb. 25, 7 p.m.) and Class AAAAA No. 3-ranked Loganville Saturday (Feb. 27, 11 a.m.) with a game later that day (1 p.m. or 4:30 p.m.) against either Class AAAAAAA No. 3-ranked Parkview, Class AAAAA No. 5-ranked Wayne County or Class AA No.-1 ranked Lovett.
Games with Class AAA No. 1 ranked Hart County follow on Tuesday (March 2, away, 5:55 p.m) and Thursday (March 4, home 5:55 p.m.).
Dragon coach Tommy Knight said his team is about to encounter some of the best teams in the state.
“And I think we need to,” he said. “In order to figure out where you’re at, you’ve got to see the best, and that’s kind of what the plan is. I’m actually looking forward to it. I think it will be fun.”
The Dragons encountered few problems during its opening week, winning three games by a combined score of 31-5 and pounded out 29 hits in the three wins.
Jefferson blasted Class A-Public No. 8-ranked Commerce on the road last Tuesday (Feb. 16) 11-1 in the first meeting between the programs since 2017, followed by home wins over Class A-Public No. 5-ranked Bowdon (10-4) and Commerce (10-0) — both on Saturday (Feb. 20).
“You score 10 runs a game, you feel pretty good about it,” Knight said. “I’m happy with that. I didn’t really feel we played particularly well against Bowdon, but we still ended up scoring 10 runs. I guess that’s the sign of a decent team that can score 10 runs and not play good.”
Jefferson threw nine different pitchers over the three-game stretch.
“We didn’t threw strikes against Bowdon,” Knight said. “That’s probably part of what I’m not feeling too good about. But when we threw strikes it was good.”
Bowman Horn went 2-for-3 with two doubles and four RBIs in last Tuesday’s win over Commerce, while Cole Watkins went 1-for-3 with two RBIs. Georgia Southern signee Rem Maxwell threw four shutout innings, striking out nine batters.
Freshman Jase Peoples led the offensive effort Saturday against Bowdon, going 2-for-4 with four RBIs. Jefferson pitching allowed just one hit but surrendered 11 walks.
Mason Cooper then produced a five-RBI night in the Saturday nightcap victory over Commerce, going 3-for-3 with a home run and double. The Dragons finished with 13 hits. Landon Richards was 2-for-2, and Watkins and Rem Maxwell both went 2-for-3.
Richard threw four shutout innings, allowing just one hit while striking out four.
Knight now looks forward to seeing how his team responds to its grueling stretch of upcoming games.
“I think our guys are ready for that,” he said. “We’ve got some games under our belt … I think it will be a challenge for our guys. At least I hope it will. I think they’ll take it that way.”