JEFFERSON — Less than 24 hours after forcing a decisive Game 3 in the second round of the Class AA playoffs against Blessed Trinity, the Jefferson Dragons ran out of comebacks Thursday in a 13-3 loss at Horace J. Jackson Field.
Rock Rucker picked up the win for Blessed Trinity, while Jefferson’s Kyle Hardy took the loss for the Dragons.
Andrew Bartek went 2-for-2 at the plate with two RBIs to lead the Dragons (25-5).
“I’m extremely pleased with the way our kids came out and fought all season long,” Dragons coach Tommy Knight said. “We’ve got a group of seniors that were very successful as a part of this program.”
With the departure of 11 seniors who accounted for 110 wins, including a 66-4 mark in region play, Knight added that there’s no reason to feel too down when looking at the overall body of work.
Knight, who took time out following the game to share a few moments with his family and congratulate the Blessed Trinity coaching staff, mentioned that as in years’ past, the Dragons will continue to develop quality players and return next season ready to contend.
“We’ll miss those seniors tremendously,” Knight said. “The young kids who have waited their turn will continue to get bigger and stronger. We’ve got another good group of kids coming in as always.”
The Dragons trailed 5-2 in the fourth inning before Lucas Redd (1-for-2, one run) scored from third base on an errant pitch from Rucker. That score put the Dragons within striking distance going into the bottom half of the inning.
Blessed Trinity (22-9) responded and effectively put the game out of reach at that point with two three-run homers during the inning to take an 11-3 lead.
The first homer was given up by Jake Fields with no outs. Jared Kimmel came on in relief of Fields and forced two pop outs before Blessed Trinity put two runners on base before the second homer was hit.
Blessed Trinity coach Andy Harlin said the fourth inning was a crucial point for his team along with effectiveness at the plate against the Dragons pitching staff.
Overall, Blessed Trinity out-hit the Dragons 14-5 in Game 3.
“We swung the bats well tonight,” Harlin said. “We knew Jefferson was going to be a tough matchup and that this was going to be a dogfight. Somebody had to step up and we’d have to take advantage of opportunities to win this series. Fortunately, we were able to do that tonight.”
Redd summed it up best when discussing the season the Dragons put together in 2010.
“We didn’t get the runs the way we wanted to (Thursday) but this was still a good year,” Redd said. “I grew up with these guys and it’s kind of tough for the season to be done. Right now I don’t even want to take my cleats off. It’s just hard to believe.”