Jefferson ace Rem Maxwell was just taking care of business as usual, perhaps unaware of the milestone he was accomplishing.
The Georgia Southern signee hurdled his first career no-hitter Monday (March 15), striking out 15 batters as Jefferson (10-4, 5-0 Region 8-AAAA) defeated Chestatee 4-0 on the road in Game 1 of a doubleheader with the War Eagles. The Dragons then beat Chestatee 9-0 in Game 2, extending their streak of shutouts to five games.
“I’m not even sure if Rem even knew he was throwing a no-hitter,” Jefferson coach Tommy Knight said. “Somebody told him after the game.”
Given Maxwell’s arm talent, it was likely just a matter of time before the senior no-hit an opposing lineup.
“He’s thrown the ball well every time out,” Knight said. “You kind of figured at some point, he was going to put it all together and (Monday) night he did … He was throwing all three pitches for strikes. He just had a spectacular night.
“What else can you say — he just dominated the ball game.”
Maxwell walked just two batters in his complete-game performance.
The Dragons turned the ball over to Landon Richards in Game 2, and he was nearly as dominant, throwing six inning and allowing just two hits and no walks while striking out nine batters.
Richards was coming off a three-hit shutout of Madison County on March 10, on a night that Knight said the right-hander actually didn’t have his best stuff. The coach said Richards had full command of his pitches Monday.
“Yeah, he threw the ball well (Monday) night,” Knight said. “He was a lot more around the plate. He used his side-arm (delivery) a little bit more. That makes him so much more effective when he can throw from the different arm slots … He had a much better night than he did against Madison County.”
Knight added that Richards “threw like he did against Marist,” referencing a Feb. 25 start in which Richards limited the Class AAAA No. 4-ranked War Eagles to two hits and one run in five innings.
As a staff, Jefferson pitchers haven’t allowed a run since March 5.
“They’ve thrown the ball well,” Knight said. “I’m very proud of them. The main thing in high school is being around the plate. If you’ve got decent stuff, and you’re around the plate, you can be very successful.”
The coach said he enjoys having the one-two punch of Maxwell and Richards on the mound, especially in doubleheaders.
“That’s going to be tough for some folks in the playoffs, I hope, when you see Rem who’s one type of pitcher and Landon is the complete opposite,” Knight said. “That makes your offense on the other side have to make adjustments. I think that’s a good weapon for us.”
But Knight said his team is still looking for a No. 3 starter to emerge. He said that job is up for grabs between three to four pitchers and hopes to have that slot settled when the playoffs begin.
As for Jefferson’s offense, it was limited to seven hits and four runs in Game 1 against Chestatee but rebounded with its nine-run effort in Game 2.
Jase Peoples went 2-for-3 with an RBI in Game 1, while Cole Watkins was 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI. Four Dragons had multi-hit games in the nightcap as Jefferson finished with 12 hits. J.J. Rapp went 2-for-5 with a double and two RBIs; Matthew Perrin was 2-for-3 with an RBI; Mason Cooper went 2-for-4 with a double; and Nick Sellers was 2-for-5.
Though his team has won five-straight games, Knight is eager to see this squad elevate its play.
“We honestly haven’t played as good as we can,” Knight said, “and I’m looking forward to the time when we do.”
The Dragons close their series with Chestatee Friday (March 19, 5:55 p.m.) at home.
MADISON CO. 0
The Dragons broke open a scoreless tie with nine runs in the top of the fourth inning in their 9-0 road win over the Red Raiders Friday (March 12).
Watkins homered and went 2-for-4 with three RBIs. Sellers went 1-for-4 with a double and two RBIs. Maxwell went 2-for-4.
Austin Bell threw four shutout innings for the win, allowing six hits and no walks while striking out five batters. Watkins and Jake Walker combined for three innings of scoreless relief.
MADISON CO. 0
Sellers socked a home run in Jefferson’s opening at-bat, and Richards tossed a three-hit shutout as the Dragons beat the Red Raiders 10-0 Wednesday (March 10) at home.
Sellers’ opening blast sparked a six-run first inning for the Dragons, who brought 12 batters to the plate in the opening frame and knocked Red Raider starting pitcher Chris Wilbanks out of the game after just 2/3 of an inning.
“We got off hot and swung the bat well,” Knight said after the game. “Landon threw the ball well. He didn’t have his best stuff, but he still managed to get outs, so that’s a credit to his competitiveness.”
The Dragons added two runs in the bottom of the third inning and two more in the bottom of the sixth inning, bring the run-rule into effect. The game ended with walk-off RBI single from Matthew Perrin, which made the score 10-0.
“Matthew Perrin, I loved for him to get that opportunity to walk it off,” Knight said. “He’s having his first varsity experience, and he’s done a good job for us. To see him walk-it-off, that was fun for him.”
Jefferson finished with nine hits, led by Sellers, who went 2-for-3 with an RBI; Watkins, who went 1-for-2 with three RBIs; and Rapp, who went 2-for-4 with two RBIs.
Richards carried a no-hitter for 4 2/3 innings. He went six innings on the night, allowing three hits and a walk, while striking out six.