Thomas County Central snapped a 713-day drought since its last region win, and scored a pair on 1-AAAAA victories on Friday against Bainbridge.
“It was good to see the kids smile on the bus ride home, and finally win a region game,” Central coach Chad Parkerson said. “It was visible that the kids’ intensity level was up.”
Central’s last region win was on April 28, 2012 against Warner Robbins, a team that no longer calls 1-AAAAA home.
The Jackets went winless in the region in 2013, and had been outscored 68-20 in regional games this season heading into Friday’s doubleheader.
“We’ve had opportunities this season, and for one reason or another, some things haven’t gone quite our way,” Parkerson said.
So what was the difference in Friday’s games?
“We made a few mistakes, but the guys didn’t let that get them down like they had in the past,” Parkerson said of his team’s five errors in the pair of games.
The Jackets thrived on their early up-tempo attack from the plate. Central took a 4-1 lead through the first four innings of Game 1, and then relied on Jonathan Robinson’s consistency from the mound.
The sophomore tossed six of the seven innings, and threw 19 first-pitch strikes.
“JR hits his spots. He’ll throw three pitches for three strikes. He’s more of a command guy in our rotation,” Parkerson said.
Senior Cooper Mayhall assumed the mound for the final inning of Game 1, then pitched all seven innings in the finale with nine strikeouts.
Mayhall, who inked a pitching scholarship with ABAC earlier this spring, leads 1-AAAAA with 54 strikeouts this season.
“I’m very proud of Cooper Mayhall,” Parkerson said. “He’s put himself in a position where he’s a legitimate No. 1 type pitcher. When he’s throwing strikes, he’s as good as anybody.”