JEFFERSON — Coming off a double-digit win against the North Oconee Titans (15-2, 10-1 Region 8-AA) earlier in the week, the Jefferson Dragons (14-2, 11-1 Region 8-AA) were looking for the season sweep Friday at Horace J. Jackson Field.
What the Dragons ended up with was a 5-4 loss, only their second of the season, ending their 14-game win streak.
“On Tuesday the game got out of hand,” Titans coach Dwayne Sapp said. “We’re a little banged up pitching-wise and Jefferson jumped on us. The kids bounced back today and hopefully we can keep playing well.”
North Oconee pitcher Taylor Hicks stayed out of trouble for most of the game as he gave up seven hits but allowed only four runs while striking out four. Robert Kittle picked up the save for the Titans.
Two of the runs allowed came by way of a two-run home run from Jamie Sexton, who was 1-for-3 at the plate. Sexton, who also struck out seven in five innings, sent an 0-2 pitch over the left field wall with two outs to tie the game at 3-all in the bottom of the fifth.
Dragons pitcher Jared Kimmel was charged with the loss. Kimmel struggled during his brief appearance in the game to locate the strike zone, although a defensive gaffe during the sixth inning did not help matters as the Titans scored an additional run off a bases-loaded walk.
Kyle Hardy came in to strike out three of the six batters he faced to close out the final two innings, but the damage was done.
“We had a few rough plays out there, but that’s baseball,” Dragons coach Tommy Knight said. “It could have happened in the first inning or the fifth inning. Jamie did a good job overall. He was behind in the count a lot and got his pitch count up over 100.
We’ve still got a lot season left so we’re not going to wear anybody out to try to win a ballgame. We’ve got guys who can step in, and I’d do the same thing again.”
Hardy also went 2-for-2 at the plate with an RBI and run scored. Lucas Redd accounted for the Dragons final run of the game with an RBI single.
Jefferson remains in position to capture the Region 8-AA title, although the Titans could overtake them if the Dragons stumble down the stretch.
“We’re still in a good spot in the region,” Knight said. “This one ballgame is done with. We’ve got to move on because we’ve got three ballgames next week and two of them are region games. What needs to not happen now is for us to slip up and get upset because of tonight. We’ve just got to take care of what we need to do for the rest of the year.”