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Prep baseball: Dragons maintain top spot in 8-A

POSTED: April 23, 2008 5:02 a.m.
Jefferson’s Jed Gurley isn’t used to being the center of attention, but after the game the Dragons’ No. 9 hitter had Friday night, it would be hard to get overlooked.

Gurley, a senior, connected on his only home run of the season for Jefferson (11-3, 10-0 Region 8-A) and drove in six runs as part of a 14-2 win over Lakeview Academy (10-6, 7-2) in Gainesville. He finished the game 3-for-3 with a fifth-inning RBI double and reached base in all five at bats.

With the win, Jefferson completed a sweep of Lakeview Academy this season.

"It feels good to have a game like I did tonight," Gurley said. "That was my only home run this season."

Jefferson coach Tommy Knight was concerned how his team would respond with such a quick turnaround from Thursday night’s 3-2 win against Region 8-A playoff contender Athens Christian. Friday night’s outing by the Dragons, in which all nine hitters reached base and seven different batters drove in runs, should go a long way in calming the coach’s concerns.

Jefferson started the week with a win against arch-rival Commerce on Tuesday night.

"I was definitely wondering how we were going to handle that quick turnaround," Knight said. "We hit the ball really well tonight ... I’d like a few more like that to get us ready for the playoffs."

Gurley wasn’t the only one swinging a hot bat for Jefferson on Friday night.

Jake Fields had a three-run home run as part of the Dragons’ eight-run seventh inning. The Dragons’ sophomore clean-up hitter also had a pair of singles and three RBIs.

Fields said the win against the Lions showed a sense of maturity in this season’s Dragons squad. He said they learned a lesson last season when they underestimated Athens Academy and were handed the team’s only loss in Region 8-A in 2007. Since that loss, Jefferson has built a 24-game winning streak in the region.

"We all know Lakeview Academy has a great team and we just didn’t want to take them for granted," Fields said.

Lucas Redd and Chris Swancey each finished the game 2-for-5 for the Dragons. Chase Harris had a double, RBI and reached base three times for Jefferson.

With all the run support, Jefferson’s No. 2 starter Cameron Blinn had no trouble on the mound. After allowing first-inning doubles to Lakeview Academy’s Colin King and Ralston Cash, the left-hander calmed down and finished with 11 strikeouts and one walk. After struggling in the first inning, Blinn only allowed four more batters to reach base before Swancey came in to strike out out the side in the seventh inning to preserve the win for Jefferson.

Blinn’s 11-strikeout performance fell a day after Jefferson’s ace Chris Beck recorded 10 strikeouts against Athens Christian.

"What I liked is that Cameron battled on the mound and really found his stuff around the third inning," Knight said. "His velocity really improved on the ball."

Cash finished 2-for-3 for Lakeview Academy. Haughton Carswell and Tyler Ward each had a single for the Lions.

Lakeview Academy visits Prince Avenue Christian at 2 p.m. today in Bogart. Jefferson plays host to Tallulah Falls in a doubleheader at 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday in Jefferson.



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