GRAY -- The Jones County Greyhounds advanced in the GHSA Region 2-AAAAA playoffs Wednesday by sweeping Grovetown 10-1 and 9-2. The Greyhounds will next play Tuesday against an undetermined opponent.
Jones County and Grovetown were locked in a close game in the first game, with the score tied at 1 after four innings. But the Greyhounds’ bats came alive in the fifth and sixth to put the game away.
“It is always important getting that first game win, and we figured it would be close because they had a very good pitcher that we knew would be tough,” said Jones County head coach Jason Page, whose team improved to 19-3. “We were hoping to get his pitch count up and be able to do some damage late in the game, and that’s exactly what we were able to do. It was a tough day to get ready to play because it looked like we would get rained out, and that might have been a part of our slow start.
“But once we settled down, we came through with some big hits.”
Grovetown pitcher Hayden Harris proved to be tough and held Jones County hitless for the first four innings. The Greyhounds did score once in the third. Chandler Ramage led off with a walk, followed by walks to Jacob Walden and Brooks Veal. Walker Juhan’s ground ball to the shortstop scored Ramage to give Jones County a 1-0 lead.
Meanwhile, Walden was cruising until the fourth when a hit and three walks scored a run for Grovetown, but Walden settled down and pitched shutout baseball for the rest of the game.
By the time Harris gave up his first hit, he already had walked eight batters, and it cost him in the fifth. After a Ramage walk and a sacrifice bunt by Walden, Veal singled to right field to score Ramage. Veal stole second and third and after a walk and stolen base by Juhan, Teldric Ross singled over a drawn in infield to score Veal. Juhan and Ross then scored on a single by Keaton Gordon to give the Greyhounds a 5-0 lead. Jones County added five more runs in the sixth to put the game away.
Jones County took control of the second game early, with Ramage again starting the inning with a walk and later coming around on a Juhan single. Veal, who reached on a fielder’s choice, also scored to give the Greyhounds an early 2-0 lead. They added four more runs in the third to grab a 6-0 lead and withstood Grovetown’s attempts to rally in the middle innings. The Warriors left two runners on base in the fourth and the bases loaded in the fifth as Gordon was able to pitch out of trouble both times.
“These were big wins for us because if we lose (Wednesday) our season is over,” Page said. “This guarantees us advancing to the state playoffs, which is our first goal.”