CHICKAMAUGA, Ga. — Gordon Lee will enter next week's Class A public school baseball playoffs as no more than a No. 5 overall seed.
Friday's 10-2 Region 6-A championship game loss to Mount Paran Christian denied the Trojans the overall top seed and the opportunity to play every postseason game at home.
Gordon Lee coach Mike Dunfee was trying to see the silver lining after his Trojans (23-2) were completely outplayed by the Eagles (22-2), who likely will be the top overall seed in the private-school playoffs. He need only to look in his own school to see what might still happen.
"We knew going in it would be an overall No. 1 seed if we won and a No. 5 if we lost. We'll just have to do what the girls' basketball team did," said Dunfee, referring to the Lady Trojans winning the state title despite being the No. 6 seed. "Sure, I would have loved to win the region championship and be at home for the playoffs, but we preach two things all year long: Stay humble and hungry.
"That game humbled us, and that whipping we just took better make us hungry."
The visitors wasted little time jumping on top when an error, a bunt single and a walk loaded the bases with one out in the first inning. Gordon Lee pitcher Jake Rogers got a big strikeout and had Keith Johnson 0-2 before hanging a curveball that Johnson deposited far past the left-field fence for a 4-0 lead.
The Trojans found quick life with two runs of their own in the bottom half on Rogers' two-out single against Mount Paran starter Andrew Maxwell, but Maxwell escaped with runners on third and first before settling down. He allowed only one more hit in four innings of strong work.
"We did a great job of coming right back in the bottom half, but we just didn't adjust to their pitching after that," Dunfee said. "They took it to us, and I hope we had some things exposed today that we can work on before the playoffs start."
The Eagles, who rapped out 13 hits, increased their lead back to four in the second on Matt McKenzie's two-run single, then put the game away with three in the sixth, the key hit being Tyler Flowers' two-run homer.
The Trojans will host a first-round series next Friday but barring upset will spend the rest of the playoffs on the road.
Contact Lindsey Young at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 423-757-6296.
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 ...