JEFFERSON — The Jefferson Dragons, the No. 1 overall seed in the Region 8-AA Tournament started the postseason in impressive fashion Friday against Rabun County in Game-1 of their double-header. The Dragons knocked off the Wildcats 10-0 in six innings in the first game of the Region 8-AA tournament while making a strong case for their postseason hopes.
Jamie Sexton continued his homerun streak when he sent a 3-1 pitch over the left-field fence in the first inning to give the Dragons a 1-0 lead. Sexton went 2-for-4 at the plate in the game.
The Dragons junior said the extra work the Dragons have put in at the batting cage has paid off.
“We’ve just been hitting in the cages,” Sexton said. “We came out after school for about 20 minutes today and we just worked on our swing. That’s about all we do every day and it’s been paying off for us.”
Dragons coach Tommy Knight said the homerun was a good way for the Dragons to set the tone early in the game.
“It makes it easier when your lead-off hitter gets a homerun to start the ballgame,” Knight said.
Lucas Redd, who went 2-for-2 with two doubles would give the Dragons their second run of the game in the second inning thanks to an RBI double by Kyle Hardy.
A sacrifice fly by Jason Demos later in the inning scored Caleb Meek and capped off a five-run inning for the Dragons who led 6-0.
Dragons pitcher Chris Beck, who picked up the win and struck out 11 Wildcats’ batters, turned the heat up in the top of the third inning after the first two batters reached base.
Beck responded by striking out the next three batters to end the inning.
“Chris has been doing the same thing he’s done all year long,” Knight said. “Around the plate he’s got command, and he makes it easier on our defense.”
In a game that was dominated by the Dragons, it was arguably a surprise when the Dragons, leading 8-0 going into the bottom of the fifth inning, missed another scoring opportunity.
After putting runners on first and second with no out and eventually loading the bases, the Dragons came away empty-handed.
Knight said it’s not something he was happy about although he thinks his team can get past it.
“When they changed pitchers we struggled with the change of speed,” Knight said. “We didn’t make a good adjustment, but we’ll take a 10-0 win.”
Jefferson 11, Rabun County 1
The Dragons’ hot bats and solid pitching carried over into Game 2 with another 10-run deficit to complete a sweep of Rabun County.
Jefferson (18-2) scattered five runs throughout the first six innings before scoring six in the seventh inning, securing the win.
Chris Swancey struck out 12 and allowed one hit in six innings pitched to record the win for Jefferson (18-2).
Jake Fields led the Dragons at the plate, going 2-for-4 with a home run and three RBIs. Caleb Meek and Chris Beck also homered for Jefferson.
Derrick McDaniel threw a complete game with 10 strikeouts in the losing effort for Rabun County.
Jefferson faces Banks County in the second round of the tournament at 2 p.m. Thursday.