published Monday, May 20th, 2013

Gordon Lee set for battle for state title

FOLKSTON, Ga. — It's not sure if Jake Rogers got his hands on a gator Sunday, but one thing that's certain is the Gordon Lee High School sophomore will have his hands full today.

Rogers and the Trojans face Charlton County today at 3:30 in a winner-take-all GHSA Class A public school baseball championship game and the right-hander is expected to get the start on the mound. What Gordon Lee (30-3) did on an unusual off-day Sunday only a few miles from the Okefenokee Swamp is anyone's guess, though if coach Mike Dunfee's suggestion came true, it's certain Rogers was in the middle of it.

"We might go wrestle some alligators; I'm not sure," laughed Dunfee moments after the final pitch of Saturday's doubleheader, which saw Charlton (30-3) win game one 11-4 before the Trojans took game two, 10-4. "We'll find something to keep them busy. The game plan Monday is to do what we do. It's another game, and everybody is going to be ready to roll."

Rogers, a linebacker in the fall, joined fellow football star Bryce Bailey in Saturday's nightcap in putting the hurt on the Indians. The pair had six hits and five RBIs in the game and woke the team up after a lackluster first-game showing.

"Me and Brice picked ourselves up in the second game after a bad first game, and hopefully we can do the same thing Monday," Rogers said. "I'll be on the mound Monday, and I just have to throw strikes. The first out of the inning is big against these guys because when they get someone on they get going."

Gordon Lee pitchers allowed five of six leadoff hitters to reach in game one and leadoff hitter Jacob Baxter was 4-for-4 with three RBIs and reached base twice more in game two.

"That Baxter kid is the real deal," Rogers said of the Indians' senior second baseman. "He gets them going, and I'm going to have to set the tone early and not let them get momentum."

Dunfee, who predicted the series would go the distance, used five pitchers Saturday but said everyone would be available to face at least a batter or two today. Along with Rogers, who was 5-0 with a 2.12 ERA in the regular season, Landon O'Neal has yet to pitch in the series and was one of the team's top relievers.

"We feel good about our chances," Dunfee said. "We've still got plenty of arms and I'm not sure how much they have left. Still, we know it's going to take an effort like we had in the second game Saturday because these guys can play."

Contact Lindsey Young at lyoung@timesfreepress.com or at 423-757-6296.

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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