GRAY — Jones County head coach Barry Veal was thinking it might be a long day when Griffin jumped out to a 6-1 lead over his Jones County Greyhounds after three innings Thursday.
He was right about the long day as his team scored 13 runs in the next three innings, keyed by an eight-run fourth as the Greyhounds rallied for a 14-8 victory in the first game of the GHSA Class AAAA playoffs. Jones County won the second game 22-12.
“I thought that we were going to have to score a bunch of runs, and we were able to do that,” Veal said. “I thought Coleman Greene kept us in it on the mound. He hasn’t been back for that long from an injury. I though he battled and did a pretty good job after the first inning. We feel like we can score some runs, and we were able to put some hits together, and it all worked out.
“We wanted to make their starting pitcher throw a lot of pitches, and we got him frustrated in the fourth. Before that he had done a great job. Cody Lanford not only hit a big home run for us, but I thought he had an excellent defensive game at shortstop.”
The Bears jumped out to a quick lead in the top of the first when Qua Brown hit a grand slam for a 4-0 lead.
They added two more runs in the third. But that all ended in the fourth when Griffin starter Taylor Powell seemed to tire.
He walked two of the first three batters in the inning, and the other one reached on a throwing error by the first baseman, scoring one run. He then got a double play ground out, which scored another run, and Powell was one out away from getting out of the inning. Lanford, however, hit a long home run to left, making it 6-4. After the next two batters walked, Greene, Cody Evans, Kasey Soles and Chaz Smith all had RBI hits for a 9-6 lead. In all, Jones County sent 13 batters to the plate in the inning, with five hits and four walks doing the damage.
Griffin did come back to make it 9-8, but a two-out three-run home run by Terrance Gore in the sixth gave Jones County some more breathing room. Sophomore Hudson Jacobs held the Bears to only one hit during the final 2-1/3 innings.
The win was Jones County’s 16th straight.
“I thought Cody hitting that home run in the fourth really gave us a great lift,” said Gore, who is a senior. “That just got us all excited. I don’t think anyone was thinking too much about being down. We have tons of confidence, and we know what we are capable of. I knew my team would come back.
“Cody is just a star on offense and defense. I was glad to get the big hit in the sixth. He had came inside on me two pitches in a row, and threw me a fastball that got too much of the plate, and I was able to hit it well. I’ve been on some very good teams here, but I like the fight this team has.”