JEFFERSON — No. 6 Flowery Branch rebounded from a tough sweep at the hands of No. 1 North Oconee with a 4-2 win over No. 4 Jefferson Monday night in a crucial Region 8-4A series.
It was the first region loss for the Dragons (15-5, 9-1 Region 8-4A) while the Falcons (13-5, 4-3 Region 8-4A) snapped a three-game losing streak in the region.
Austin Hatcher tossed 5 1/3 innings scattering four hits and striking out seven to get the win. Jake Beaver pitched a perfect seventh inning to get the save.
The Falcons offense wasted little time in jumping on Jefferson starter Rem Maxwell as Connor Larson doubled to lead off the game. After Beaver reached on an error, courtesy-runner Hatcher scored on a bases loaded walk to Kade Smallwood and then Beaver scored on a squeeze bunt from Baxley O’Brien for a 2-0 lead.
The two runs allowed were more runs than Jefferson allowed in its first nine region games total.
Branch picked right up in the second plating two more runs on back-to-back RBI doubles from JB Bell and Kaleb Freeman for a 4-0 advantage.
That would be more than enough for Hatcher and Beaver.
Jefferson, however, began to chip into the lead. The Dragons got a run back in the fifth on a RBI single from Cole Watkins. They added a run in the sixth when Nick Sellers singled and later stole home on a double steal.
But that’s as close as the Dragons could get. The stranded seven runners overall, four in scoring position, including two in the final two innings.
Maxwell went six allowing four runs on four hits but he also walked five and fanned eight. J.J. Rapp went the final inning recording one strikeout for Jefferson.
The two teams will head to Flowery Branch on Wednesday to resume the series before returning to Jefferson on Friday.
EAST HALL 18-18
CEDAR SHOALS 1-1
The Vikings got their first wins of the season in a pair of dominating wins in Region 8-4A action.
Christian McCullough and Zach Kinsey combined on a two-hitter and fanned eight in Game 2. In Game 1, Carter Gillespie pitched three innings surrendering just one run on five hits.
In the second game, McCullough and Cooper Williamson each had three hits and combined to drive in five runs. Ross Brock had two hits and two RBI for the Vikings.
In the opening game, Brock had two hits and five RBI alone as East Hall (2-14, 2-6 Region 8-4A) used a nine-run third inning to invoke the Mercy Rule.
Zach Kinsey had three hits and a pair of RBI for the Vikings in the first game. Luke Barton also drove in two runs for East Hall.
WHITE COUNTY 15,
The Warriors snapped their two-game Region 7-3A losing streak with a six-inning drubbing of the Bobcats on the road.
White County (13-5, 8-2 Region 7-3A) remained in a tie for third place with West Hall with the win. The two teams will resume their series on Wednesday in Cleveland.
However, 11 of the runs were unearned as White County took advantage of four big Gilmer (3-14, 0-7 Region 7-3A) errors. But the game was just a 1-0 Warriors after three innings on a second inning RBI single from Bailee Patterson.
White County scored six in the fourth as Patterson had another RBI hit, J. Ben Haynes got an RBI on bases-loaded walk, Nate Bray plated two with a single, and Evan Chambers capped the inning with a RBI single for a 7-0 lead. The Warriors put the game away with an eight-run sixth inning.
Gilmer scored twice in the fourth off White County starter Bray but would be all the Bobcats could muster. Bray went 3 2/3 innings surrendering three hits and walking five.
Caleb Gee went 1 1/3 allowing a hit and a walk and struck out one in one inning and Seth Stonecypher closed out the game pitching a perfect sixth inning for the Warriors.
Bray finished with two hits and three RBI for White County. Patterson, Bray, Jake Johnson,Rylee Higgins, and Chambers all had two hits for the Warriors. Bray knocked in three runs and Johnson, Chambers, each had two RBI on the day.
CHEROKEE BLUFF 7,
DAWSON COUNTY 2
Bryce England had two hits, including a home run, and drove in five runs to lead the Bears to a Region 7-3A win on the road.
It was the sixth straight win for Bluff (14-4, 6-1 Region 7-3A) who remained in second place in the region just one game behind No. 2 North Hall (13-4, 8-1 Region 7-3A).
The Bears got going quickly as Lucas Tritt stroked a two-run single in the first. Then England went to work. England belted a two-run home run in the third and added a three-run double in the fourth.
That was more than enough for Clay Tyas, who went 4 2/3 innings allowing just one hit and walking five while also fanning nine Tigers to get the win.
Tyler Zawacki tossed 1 1/3 innings allowing two unearned runs on two hits. Braxton Beal pitched the seventh striking out one and walking one.
The two teams will resume their series on Wednesday in Flowery Branch.
WEST HALL 8,
LUMPKIN COUNTY 0
Braden Simms had another stellar performance on the mound striking out 12 and scattering four hits in leading the Spartans to a Region 7-3A win.
West Hall (15-5, 8-2 Region 7-3A) scored in all but two innings against three Indians pitchers.
Justin Shaffer led anine-hit Spartans attack with two hits and two RBI.
Simms and Evan Connor each had two hits. Nick Sturm had a hit and two RBI, Michael Gaddy had a hit and an RBI, Ryan Svetz had one hit, and Will Brannan knocked in a run for West Hall.
The win kept the Spartans tied with Cherokee Bluff for third but the Bears own the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Spartans.
West Hall and Lumpkin County will head to Dahlonega n Wednesday to resume their three-game series.
CENTRAL GWINNETT 0
Treyton Rank, Evan Kerhen, Jackson King, and Vachen Patel combined on a two-hit shutout to lead the Class 6A No. 1 Wolves to another Region 8-6A win on Monday in Lawrenceville.
Jackson Gaspard had two hits and two RBI and Ayden Digiacomo had a hit and two RBI to lead the Buford offense. Heath Slaton, Eli Parks, and Brant Baughcum all had one hit for Buford (21-0, 13-0 Region 8-4A).
The Wolves opened with a four-run first inning and never looked back.
AREA BASEBALL SCOREBOARD FOR Monday, March 29
Buford 9, Central Gwinnett 0*
East Hall 18-18 Cedar Shoals 1-1*
Cherokee Bluff 7, Dawson County 2*
Flowery Branch 4, Jefferson 2*
Denmark 10, Gainesville 0*
Greenbrier 6, Jackson County 0*
Loganville 12, Johnson 0*
West Hall 8, Lumpkin County 0*
Madison County 11, Chestatee 1*
Towns County 7, Union County 5
White County 15, Gilmer 2*
Winder-Barrow 11, Habersham Central 0*
East Jackson at Stephens County*
(* -- denotes region contest)