COLUMBUS, Ga. -- Gordon Lee's goal of successfully defending its Georgia Class A softball title took a major step forward Thursday -- but not without some unwanted drama.
The top-ranked Lady Trojans faced what many believe to be their toughest competition in the opening game Thursday, and following a closer-than-it-should-be 4-3 win over second-ranked Bryan County, coach Dana Mull believed the two would meet again before the championship is decided.
"We didn't fall apart but we're just not used to playing like that," said Mull, whose 35-1 team easily dispatched Mount Pisgah, 14-0, in the second round Thursday night. "One mistake kind of led to another, but they're a good team and I believe we'll see them again."
Gordon Lee (36-1) will face Wesleyan (22-11) in today's winner-bracket final at 5.
Gordon Lee used its usual formula of strong pitching, tight defense and timely hitting to build a seemingly safe 4-0 lead over Bryan County. Kendall Johnson's RBI single in the first inning put the Lady Trojans up 1-0, and they added a run in the fifth on Sam Taylor's leadoff homer and two in the sixth on run-scoring hits by Kalei Kimbrell and Jordan Holland.
Brenna Nation held Bryan to three hits through six innings, but a late rally -- with some help from the Lady Trojans -- nearly tied the game. A two-out, two-on single by Tiffany Howard and an error brought home one run, with the lead narrowed to two on Sierra Newman's ensuing hit.
The tying runs were on when Taylor Butler hit a ball to second, where Taylor threw late to first, scoring one run. Newman, though, tried to get to third but was cut down by Lexis Robertson's throw for the final out.
In the Lady Trojans' second game, Kimbrell led a 14-hit attack with three hits and two RBIs. Taylor, Bickett, Courtney Towns and Kendall Johnson each drove in two runs.