Half game back in race for Region 4-5A crown with 5 games remaining
Jones County tops Veterans, splits with Strong Rock in non-region play
With the Henry County schools out on spring break last week, the Greyhounds had to settle for three non-region games to stay busy, downing Veterans on the road and splitting a doubleheader at home with Strong Rock Christian.
But Region 4-5A play resumes this week, and Jones County is in the middle of a four-team race for the region crown.
Jones County began the week half a game behind region co-leaders Ola and Locust Grove and just a half a game ahead of fourth-place Stockbridge.
The Greyhounds were to play at Stockbridge on Tuesday and host the Tigers at 6 p.m. Thursday. A sweep for Jones County would keep the Greyhounds in the running for the title. A split or two losses would make it tougher to secure one of the region’s two top spots and the right to host in the first round of the state playoffs.
Jones County also was to host Veterans in a non-region game on Wednesday and plays at Rutland in a non-region makeup game on Saturday.
The final week of the regular season will be even busier, thanks to several rainouts early in the season, with the Greyhounds scheduled to play five days in a row – at Woodland on Monday, home against Dutchtown on Tuesday, home against Houston County on Wednesday, at Dutchtown on Thursday and at East Coweta on Friday. The Woodland and Dutchtown games are region contests.
The first round of the state playoffs will be April 24-26.
“It’s a lot of games jammed together these last two weeks,” coach Jason Page said. “All that rain we had early. Just hope we don’t get more.
“Obviously our focus, at least with our pitching, will be on the region games. We really need to win all five to be sure of being one of the top two.”
Page split the pitching duties in the non-region games last week, giving his top starters just enough work to keep in shape but also providing some rest, and getting some work for others in case they are needed down the stretch.
Jacob Thompson went the distance in a 10-3 win at Veterans last Tuesday. He held the Warhawks to three runs on eight hits and struck out two.
Brandin Johnson went 3-for-4 with a triple and four
RBIs and Chase Wright was 3-for-5 with three RBIs to lead Jones County’s offense.
The Greyhounds led all the way but Veterans had pulled within a run before Jones County put it away with six runs in the top of the seventh.
Jones County built a big lead on the way to an 8-4 victory over Strong Rock in the first game of their doubleheader in Gray on Thursday.
Seth Daniels was 2-for-2 with a double and two RBIs and Johnson was 2-for-3 with a double and an RBI for the Greyhounds.
Starter C.J. Whitehead got the win, holding the Patriots to one run on two hits and a walk through four innings. He struck out two.
Dawson Barnes gave up three runs on three hits and four walks in two innings, but Wright clamped the lid on the rally with a scoreless one-hit seventh inning.
Johnson started the second game and took the loss in Jones County’s 3-1 loss. He gave up two runs on a hit and walk and struck out two. Chandler Wooten pitched two scoreless innings, striking out three and allowing only one hit. And Colby Gordon finished, giving up a run on one hit in one inning and striking out two.
But the offense stalled against Strong Rock’s Braiden Eidson, who went the distance and held the Greyhounds to one run on four hits and three walks. He struck out six.
Jones County stranded runners in scoring position in the second, fifth and sixth innings. The team’s only run came in the fourth when Barnes led off with a triple and scored on a ground-out by Wooten.
Gray Station won twice last week, winning 13-3 at Henderson on Tuesday and downing Clifton Ridge 7-5 on Wednesday at JCHS.
“We had great pitching from Dawson Harris, Jacob Bridgeman, Brody Gordon and Bo Mansfield,” coach John Abernathy said.
He also praised the defense of third baseman Will Keenum and second baseman Carter Lewis.
Cohen Barfield went 5-for-7 for the week to lead the offense, and Drew Jones hit two triples against Henderson.
Clifton Ridge dropped to 8-2 with the loss to Gray Station.
Coach Trey Smith praised the pitching of Jayce Palmer. Marlin Mills, Colin Evans, Anderson Gordon and Zac Jones had hits for the Cougars.