published Wednesday, May 8th, 2013

Trion, Gordon Lee surprise second-round hosts

GHSA PLAYOFFS 2ND ROUND

(best-of-three series)

Today

Class A

Turner County at Gordon Lee, 4

Jenkins County at Trion, 4

Class AAA

Ringgold at Blessed Trinity, 4:30

Thursday

Class AAAA

Stephens County at Northwest Whitfield, TBA

TRION, Ga. — On the surface, the first round of the GHSA Class A public school baseball playoffs was utter chaos, with three of the top four seeded teams losing.

Jason Lanham wasn't surprised in the least. The Trion coach saw it coming, and after his 11th-seeded Bulldogs upset No. 6 Hawkinsville, he was able to give his players the old "I told you so" speech.

"We preached and preached how tough our region, 6-A, is, and I told our guys all we had to do was find a way to get into the playoffs," Lanham said. "Of the 16 teams still alive (public and private), five are from our region, so you can say we were battle tested."

The Bulldogs (16-10) also were the beneficiary of another upset when Jenkins County swept No. 3 Schley County. Trion now will host Jenkins, though the start of the best-of-three series is still questionable. Scheduled for today at 4, the opening doubleheader may have to get pushed back because of overly wet grounds.

"We are having some severe water issues," Lanham said. "Trion received seven inches of rain, and right now it's pretty bad. The GHSA says we have to work on it until Wednesday morning before making a decision, so we're going to keep trying."

Trion, which was 2-24 three years ago, has a solid pitching rotation built around senior left-hander Donald Morgan and sophomore righty Ethan Young, while senior catcher Luke Gilliland is the main offensive threat. After losing four of their final five regular-season games, though, the Bulldogs were not assured of making the postseason.

"We didn't end well, but we felt we had proven we could play with the best teams in the state," Lanham said. "Winning in that first round just shows that seeding number they assign you doesn't mean a lot."

• Trion's 6-A rival, Gordon Lee, also is a surprising second-round host. The Trojans, fifth seeded despite a 25-2 record, swept Irwin County by a combined score of 29-1 and will host Turner County today after Turner upset fourth-seeded Baconton.

Gordon Lee, with top-seeded Emanuel County Institute losing in the first round, is the highest-seeded team left in the top half of the bracket. The Trojans would host the winner of the Lincoln County/Treutlen series Monday in the semifinals and would travel only if they and No. 2 seed Charlton County make it to the finals.

• Ringgold, after sweeping Jackson County in Class AAA, travels to Region 6 champion Blessed Trinity (24-4), which has not lost to an AAA team this year. The Titans swept Dawson County last week, 15-0 and 4-2.

"It's a tough draw, but at this time of the year that's what you expect," Ringgold coach Brent Tucker said. "We'll have our hands full, but we're playing pretty well right now."

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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