CHICKAMAUGA, Ga. — It may sound contradictory, but the Gordon Lee baseball Trojans take pride in being patiently aggressive. That style of play was on full display Monday as the Trojans swept a Class A preliminary state playoff doubleheader from Athens Christian Academy, 10-0 and 11-6.
Gordon Lee (22-6) advances to the 32-team postseason field and will travel to Lincoln County for a doubleheader start of a first-round series Friday.
"It was a lot of fun," Trojans coach Mike Dunfee said after watching his team pound out 20 hits and draw 12 walks. "The kids are jacked up and we've got to look at it one round at a time. Lincoln County is our focus now that we're actually in the playoffs.
"Our motto on offense is to put pressure on the defense. Anybody can catch popups, but we want to hit line drives, bunt and run. If somebody can handle it, you just tip your hat to them. I know we're not going to stop what we do."
The patient part showed at the plate as the Trojans consistently made the Spartans throw extra pitches. The aggressive part came in taking extra bases when available. Even though three Trojans were thrown out at home during the two games, the push-it style helped lead to eight Athens Christian errors.
Junior Branton Phillips led Gordon Lee with three hits in game one and four in game two. The designated hitter drove in a combined six runs, including two with a fifth-inning double that put the first win away. His fourth-inning single in game two gave the Trojans the lead for good.
"It's just a matter of not pressing and sitting back and letting the pitch get to us," said Phillips, explaining the Trojans' approach. "As long as we do that, I think we can beat any team in the state. If there's a base hit we're thinking two bases, and you keep going until [Dunfee] stops you. Putting pressure on them was important."
Freshman right-hander Conard Broom pitched a one-hit shutout in the six-inning first game. Broom allowed a one-out single in the first inning and faced the minimum over the final five innings. He struck out five and walked two, and both runners were thrown out trying to steal.
"His composure shows," Dunfee said. "Nothing seems to rattle him. He's got all the pitches and different arm angles, but the big thing is he keeps attacking the strike zone."
The visitors jumped to a 2-1 lead after three innings of game two, but Gordon Lee put up four runs in the fourth, the big hit a two-run double from Daniel Brooks, and five in the fifth to secure the sweep.
Brooks had three hits and four RBIs while Klay Durham scored six runs in the two games for the Trojans.
Lindsey Young is a sports writer at the Chattanooga Times Free Press who started work at the Chattanooga News-Free Press 24 years ago. He covers the Northwest Georgia prep beat and NASCAR. Lindsey’s hometown is Ringgold, Ga., and he graduated from Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe High School. He received an associate’s degree from Dalton Junior College (now Dalton State) and a bachelor’s degree in communications from UTC. He has won several writing awards, including two Tennessee Sports ...