Heading into Tuesday’s game against Jackson, the Jordan baseball team had no room for error.
It was still in the hunt with Rutland for the No. 2 spot in Region 2-AAA — however slim the chances may have been — but one loss would guarantee it a road series to open the playoffs.
For five innings, the Red Jackets competed with the top team in the region, but a seven-run sixth for the Red Devils handed Jordan a 12-2 loss at home.
The loss dropped Jordan to 9-4 on the season, still in a comfortable position to clinch the No. 3 seed out of the region when it plays a pair of games against Southwest-Macon next week. Regardless of what happens in the Red Jackets’ next region contest — on the road against Jackson, which improved to 13-0 in region play Tuesday — at least a split against Southwest would clinch the third spot.
“We’re still in third,” Jordan coach Tony Dimitri said after Tuesday’s game. “We have a chance to compete in the playoffs. These team is good when we play like Friday and for five innings today.”
It wasn’t winning after five innings on Tuesday, but it was certainly still in a position to do so. Jordan trailed 5-2 after five, squandering an early 2-0 lead, but limiting Jackson when it had opportunities. In the first, Jackson stranded a runner at second, and in the second the bases were left loaded. In the third, the Red Devils jumped in front with three unearned runs, but still left one in scoring position, and in the fifth the bases were left loaded again.
It wasn’t until the sixth inning that Jackson finally put Jordan out of the game. With one out, Will Lane knocked a double to get things started. Kevin Madonna was then hit by a pitch and Will Gibby walked to load the bases.
This time, the Red Devils wouldn’t pass up the bases-loaded opportunity.
A.J. Madonna knocked a single to score two runs, and Rhett Carroll singled to put runners at first and second, still with only one out. Austin Smith struck out for the second out of the inning, but Drew Moore put the game out of reach with a three-RBI double. Colby Hoek added a two-RBI single to close out the inning’s scoring at seven runs, giving Jackson a 12-2 lead.
It got its three runs in third inning all with two outs. Moore reached on an error by right fielder Joseph Gray to lead off the inning, but the next two were retired by pitcher John Kropacweski on a strikeout and a flyout to centerfield. Three straight hits plated three, however, to put Jackson in front for good.
“We’ve been playing well here lately, we just made a couple mistakes that bit us today,” Dimitri said. “I think we gave them too much. You can’t win too many games like that.”
Jordan scored both of its runs in the first inning, one on a steal of home plate that resulted from a failed suicide squeeze attempt. The other came home on a sacrifice fly by Lawson McGregor.
Jordan will face Jackson again on Friday on the road, one of three remaining region contests. The other two are next week against Southwest-Macon. Jordan is scheduled to play at Marion County on Wednesday if the weather allows.
Tuesday at Jordan
Jackson 013 107—12 14 1
Jordan 200 000—2 3 3
WP—Will Lane. LP—John Kropacweski. Leading hitters—Jackson, Drew Moore 3-4, 2 2Bs, 2 Rs, 4 RBIs, Will Lane 2-3, 2B, 2 Rs, RBI, Will Gibby 2-3, R, RBI, A.J. Madonna 2-3, R, 2 RBIs; Jordan, C.J. White 1-4, 2B. Records—Jackson, 18-3, 13-0; Jordan, 14-6, 9-4. Next—Jackson, Wednesday at Monticello; Jordan, Wednesday at Marion County.