Audrey Burton

Audrey Burton slides safely into second base against Flowery Branch.

JEFFERSON – The Jefferson softball team carried momentum from recent victories into its region matchup with Flowery Branch, and even led for five innings.

Unfortunately, the Dragons lost 3-2 after surrendering a two-run rally in the sixth inning. Jefferson falls to 3-3 in region 8-AAAA and will attempt to bounce back on Tuesday (Sept. 14) at North Oconee.

Ravyn Saxon pitched the first five innings and allowed just two hits and one run while striking out six batters. Addison Self surrendered the game-tying and game-winning runs, but she otherwise limited the Flowery Branch offense.

"Our pitchers did a really good job tonight of limiting damage," said assistant coach Sam Moore. "We had a freshman come in relief (Addison Self), and she did a great job. She did exactly what we asked her to do. We got some ground balls and we didn't make a couple of plays. We didn't make a play on a bunt and that was big for them. Our pitchers did a really good job tonight, our outfield did a really good job tonight. 

"You have to hand it to Flowery Branch. They beat us in the first game 7-0 and we came out here and competed. We had a lead for a while but we just needed a big hit to score a run and we didn't get it."

All of Jefferson's (7-6, 33 Region 8-AAAA) damage came in the second inning with two outs. Avery Hays doubled to bring Skylar Brady home from second base. Brady was the courtesy runner for Emma Kate Sorrells who hit a lead-off single. Ellie Kinlaw extended the Dragons' lead to 2-0 with a double to center field which drove Audrey Burton home. Savannah Smith followed with a walk to load the bases for Taylor Spivey, but the junior struck out to strand the base runners.

Flowery Branch (9-4, 5-3 Region 8-AAAA) cut the lead to 2-1 with a two-out double in the fourth inning. The Falcons rallied to take the lead in the sixth inning. They opened the inning by reaching on a bunt. The runner stole a pair of bases and then scored a game-tying run on a hard ground ball to Burton at shortstop. An error by Burton kept Jefferson from getting an out which proved costly as Self gave up a double to deep center field which brought the game-winning run home. Flowery Branch led 3-2.

Self settled down and got the three outs without surrendering more runs to the Falcons. However, Jefferson's offense wasn't able to do anything with singles in the sixth and seventh innings.

"We have to do a better job of getting bunts down and moving runners," Moore said of Jefferson's woes on offense. "When we do that, we get runners in scoring position and it gives our big hitters an opportunity to get a big hit. It's just those chances and we'll see those chances and it'll come around.

Classy gesture by Flowery Branch

Flowery Branch presented Jefferson with helmet stickers and chose to wear their "strikeout cancer" jerseys in honor of one of the seniors on the Jefferson softball team who's father is currently battling cancer.

"There are some stand up guys over there. I appreciate what they did for us and our team," Moore said.

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