Jeff Davis High’s baseball team advanced to the third round of the Class AA State Baseball Tournament last week with a sweep of Westside, Augusta in a best-of-3 series played in Augusta.
Senior right-hander Chandler Davenport turned in a complete game, 4-hit performance on the mound in the first game as the Jackets rolled to a 6-0 win. The second game was a nail-biter as the Jackets prevailed 8-6 with senior left-hander Ross Rush picking up the win on the mound.
JD Assistant Coach Steven Wilcox said following the 6-0 win he expected Davenport, in his first starting assignment of the season, to give the team about five good innings on the mound. Davenport’s 7-inning performance was a pleasant surprise.
The second game had both Wilcox and Head Coach Paul Glass, along with the large contingent of Yellow Jacket fans who made the 3-hour trip to Augusta, sitting on the edge of their seats as Jeff Davis entered the seventh with an 8-5 lead and sophomore reliever Braydon Creech on the mound to relieve Rush.
The Patriots quickly tagged Creech for three straight hits, cutting the score to 8-6 with runners on first and second with no one out. A balk by Creech moved the runners to second and third, prompting Glass to walk to the mound to calm down his young pitcher. Creech then struck out the next batter and then fielded a grounder back to the mound. After checking the runner at third, he threw to Davenport at first for the second out and Davenport alertly spotted the Patriot on second straying from the bag. He fired a strike to shortstop Britt Metts who tagged out the runner to end the game and bring a collective sigh of relief from the Jacket faithful.
In the opener, the Jackets wasted little time in establishing their dominance. They scored twice in the first, and again in the second, and added single runs in the third and fifth while Davenport held the Patriots at bay. Westside got only five runners on base, and one of those was felled by a double play when second baseman Garrison Miles fielded a line drive and threw to first to double up the runner.
Davenport also led the Jackets at the plate, with a double, two singles and an RBI. Garrett Baucom singled twice and drove in two runs, Metts had two singles and an RBI, Alex Sanders and Miles both singled in a run, and Hunter Foster and Seth Grahm both had singles. Miles also had a sacrifice.
The Jackets were aggressive on the bases, stealing four bases, one each by Sanders, Baucom, Metts and Caleb Chaney.
Davenport allowed four hits, walked none, hit one batter and struck out five.
The second game was a different story. The score was tied at 4-all, and 5-all before Jeff Davis scored two runs in the fifth and another in the sixth to take the 8-6 lead.
Westside, playing as the visitors, scored a run in the first inning but, in the bottom of the inning, Seth Graham belted a high, 2-run homer over the left field fence as JD scored three runs to take a 3-1 lead that grew to 4-1 after two innings. But the Patriots fought back to make the game a close one until the final out.
Graham’s homer, single and two RBIs led the offense. Sanders, Foster, and Davenport each had two hits as the first four batters in the lineup got eight of the Jackets’ 11 hits. Davenport drove in two runs and Foster one. Davenport also had a sacrifice. Baucom drove in two runs with a single and a sacrifice, Miles singled in a run, and Colby Marchant singled.
On the base paths, the Jackets stole seven bases, giving them 11 steals in 11 attempts over the two games. Sanders and Foster swiped two bases each, and Kaden Lewis, Graham and Baucom stole one base each.
Rush went six innings on the mound, giving up five runs on eight hits, walking none and striking out four. Creech pitched one inning, giving up one run on three hits, walking none and striking out one to earn a save.
Davenport, Rush and Creech combined did not walk any batters in the two games.
This week, the Jackets travel to Elberton to take on Elbert County in a rematch of the 2017 state title game won by Jeff Davis.
Score by innings:
JDHS 2 2 1 0 1 0 0 -6
WHS 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 -0
WHS 1 0 3 0 1 0 1 -6
JDHS 3 1 0 1 2 1 x -8