The North Jackson baseball program will wear the Jackson County baseball championship crown for at least another year.
The Class 4A No. 5-ranked Chiefs claimed their fourth straight county title with a 7-3 win over Section Saturday afternoon at North Sand Mountain High School in Higdon.
North Jackson (24-8) has won six of the last seven Jackson County baseball tournament championships and have won 10 county championships since the county tournament restarted in 2002 after long hiatus.
It’s tough to four-peat. These seniors will graduate having won the county championship every year, so that’s special,” said North Jackson head coach Cole Porter. “We didn’t play the way we wanted to, but we got the win. We had some timely hits, stole some bases, which was good. We did enough. Sometimes you have to win when you don’t play like your best or (play) like you want to.”
North Jackson, which defeated NSM 15-5 in the semifinals earlier on Saturday, opened up a 3-0 first inning lead in the title game against Section (5-16) and led 5-0 after three innings. Section got two runs in the fourth, but the Chiefs countered with two in the bottom of the fourth to lead 7-2. Section capped the scoring in the fifth when Drake McCutchen doubled and eventually scored on a passed ball.
Dalton Morris and Brandon Poole had two hits each for North Jackson while Carson Smith had an RBI double and two walks and Macklin Guess had one hit and one RBI. Brandon Poole got the win on the mound for the Chiefs, working four innings and striking out four while allowing two runs (one earned) on three hits and three walks. Landon Barnes picked a up three-inning save. He allowed one unearned run while recording one strikeout.
McCutchen took the loss for Section, but the junior only surrendered one earned run on seven hits and two walks while recording one strikeout.
“(McCutchen) only gave up three earned runs. He pitched really well — with a hurt hand, too — and gave us a chance,” said Section coach Luke Pope. North Jackson, that’s a really good team. We played pretty well but can’t make errors against a team like that. Got to play your best ball. We made errors or we could’ve been there at the end.”
Section loses just one senior, Cole Woods, and Pope said the Lions’ run to the county finals was “something to build on” for next season.
“We’ve got a lot of seniors coming up next year, and a lot of kids that hadn’t played in a while that we’re getting back in the routine of playing,” Pope said. “From the first game to now, we’ve come a long way this year.”
North Jackson 15, NSM 5 — The Chiefs led 4-3 after three innings before breaking the game open with an eight-run fourth on the way to defeating the 2A No. 7-ranked Bison on Saturday and advancing the finals.
Matt Adams finished 2-for-3 with a two-run home run and three RBIs and Brandon Poole was 2-for-3 with a double, three RBIs and three runs scored for North Jackson while Caden Wynne was 2-for-2 with an RBI and two runs scored. Carson Smith doubled, walked twice, scored twice and drove in a run and Dalton Morris had an RBI triple.
Smith pitched four innings and recorded three strikeouts to earn the win on the mound for the Chiefs.
Dylan Marr finished 2-for-3 with two RBIs and Russ Marr was 2-for-3 with two runs scored for NSM (12-4), which also got one hit and one RBI from Lake Bell and a double from Mason Smith.
Section 14, Woodville 3 — The Lions scored six runs each in the first and second innings on the way to advancing to the county finals for the first time since 2018.
Braden Arndt went 2-for-4 with three RBIs for Section while Jacob Stringer was 2-for-4 with an RBI. Josh Moore had two RBIs for the Lions while Drake McCutchen and Carter Cooper had one hit and one RBI each. Jed Spark had one hit and Dillan Pope had an RBI.
Dominik Blair pitched four innings in relief and got the win on the mound. He recorded two strikeouts while allowing just four hits and no walks.
Jackson Peek finished 3-for-3 with a double and an RBI for Woodville (1-14) while Ben Minor and Aadeance Weaver had one hit each.
Section 17, Pisgah 12 — Section rallied from a six-run deficit to defeat Pisgah Friday night and advance to the semifinal round.
A nine-run top of the second staked Pisgah to an early lead, and the Eagles led 12-6 after four innings. But Section got a run in the bottom of the fifth before scoring 10 runs in the bottom of the sixth to claim the win.
Logan Patterson’s RBI single played Carter Cooper with the go-ahead run. Patterson finished 3-for-3 with two RBIs and two runs scored.
Drake McCutchen finished 2-for-3 with two RBIs and two runs scored and Dominik Blair was 2-for-4 with an RBI while Braden Arndt and Jacob Stringer had one hit and two RBIs each had Dillan Pope, Jacob Cooper and Jed Sparks had one hit and one RBI each. Jacob Cooper got the win on the mound after pitching the final 5 2/3 innings in relief. He recorded 11 strikeouts.
Jackson Wheeler and Mason Overdear both finished 2-for-5 with two RBIs for Pisgah (1-12) while Dalton Johnson had one hit and two RBIs and Brody Parker had one hit and one RBI.
NSM 13, Skyline 3 — The Bison scored eight runs in the bottom of the first inning before taking on three more in the second and fourth innings to earn the win in the five innings Friday afternoon and advance to the semifinals.
Russ Marr finished 2-for-3 with a double four RBIs and Lake Bell was 2-for-3 with a double and three RBIs for NSM while Kolton Cooper was 2-for-2 with two RBIs, Jarrett Hill had one hit and two RBIs and Hayden Neil had one hit and one RBI.
Lake Bell recorded six strikeouts while pitching three perfect innings to earn the win on the mound for NSM. Harley Tucker pitched the final two innings for the Bison and posted two strikeouts.
Weston Avans had a two-run single for Skyline (3-12).