published Wednesday, March 27th, 2013

Gordon Lee fourth in poll

Northwest Whitfield pitcher Seth Pierce and his Bruins teammates were among three Region 7B-AAAA teams sweeping three-game league series last week.
Northwest Whitfield pitcher Seth Pierce and his Bruins teammates were among three Region 7B-AAAA teams sweeping three-game league series last week.
Photo by Connor Choate /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

The initial Class A power rankings for Georgia high school baseball are out, and Gordon Lee is fourth in the public-school poll. As with all Class A athletics this year, playoff seedings on the private and public sides will be determined by the final rankings.

Gordon Lee coach Mike Dunfee warned that the first rankings mean very little.

"It's going to change because a lot of schools haven't recorded their results," said Dunfee, whose 11-1 team trails Emmanuel County Institute (14-0), Charlton County (13-1) and Schley County (10-1) in the rankings. "It will get better after this week when they start to get all the scores."

Trion (8-5) is 11th in the public list, while Christian Heritage (4-6) is 14th on the private side, where Region 6-A foes Darlington, Mount Paran and Mount Pisgah are in the top 11.

7-AAAA sweeps week

The first week of region play in 7-AAAA produced interesting results. Region teams are playing weekly three-game series aganst each other this year, and subregion B had three sweeps last week.

Northwest Whitfield swept Ridgeland in the marquee matchup of week one, while two teams needing to kickstart their seasons, Heritage and Dalton, went 3-0 against LaFayette and Southeast Whitfield, repsectively.

"We've had some tough ballgames, so starting our region play like that was nice," said Heritage coach Eric Beagles, whose team was 2-6 overall before the sweep. "It was interesting playing the same team three times. It breeds a little familiarity for the second and third games and brings more strategy into it."

Cold-weather blues

Late March normally brings warmer temperatures for area competition, but not this year. Games played Tuesday came with snow flurries and wind chills in the 20s.

"It's one of the worst years I've ever coached in," Ringgold coach Brent Tucker said. "The sport's not meant to be played in the 40s. It's just not comfortable. We practice outdoors when it's cold, but when it's 36 degrees with snow flurries and the wind blowing hard ... there's nothing you can do."

Tucker noted that pitchers have a tough time getting loose in such chilly temps and he tries to get his guys more time to try to get loose before they enter a game.

Broom near perfect

Gordon Lee sophomore right-hander Conard Broom has been on a roll since losing at Darlington on March 8. After hurling a shutout against Christian Heritage, Broom pitched a no-hitter against Mount Pisgah Christian last Friday in a 5-0 win.

"Conard is one of the most composed young men I've ever met," Dunfee said. "He's completely into a game, whether he's pitching or not, but when he's on the mound he's in his own world and in complete control. After losing to Darlington you can tell he's really on his game."

about Lindsey Young...

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 ...

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