CHICKAMAUGA, Ga. - The Gordon Lee express kept rolling Monday in the GHSA Class A public school baseball playoffs, but for the first time the Trojans had to face a little adversity.
Visiting Treutlen County shocked the standing-room-only crowd by jumping out to a 5-0 lead in game one, but Gordon Lee withstood the early punch, regrouped and outscored the Vikings 33-3 the rest of the way. The Trojans (29-2) used a 19-hit attack to rally for a 17-8 win in the first game of the semifinal series, then rapped out 12 hits in a 16-0, five-inning win in game two.
Gordon Lee will travel to No. 2 seed Charlton County for the championship series, which begins with a doubleheader Saturday. The Indians downed Trion 6-0 and 15-0 in the other semifinal series Monday.
"They did not get here because they weren't good," Gordon Lee coach Mike Dunfee said of the Vikings. "We knew they would battle us. That first game, you love those type of games. That's baseball and that kind of game shows what you're made of.
"I can't say enough about this group of kids. We like to say we're 18 deep, and today everyone contributed in some way. They deserve this because they've worked their tails off."
Two errors helped lead to the five early Treutlen runs, along with RBI hits from Kyle Rosen and Brad Cammack. The Vikings caught the error bug themselves, however, committing three in the next two innings as the Trojans took a 7-5 lead. Daniel Brooks, Adam Vandiver and Conner Coakley each had run-scoring hits in the rally.
The Gordon Lee lead was just 9-8 after Treutlen scored twice in the fifth on Cammack's bases-loaded single. The Trojans, though, scored seven times against three pitchers to finally get some breathing room. Cody Wilson had a two-run triple and Sexton a two-run single to highlight the rally.
Freshman Tucker Bradley, the fourth Gordon Lee pitcher, made the lead hold with 2 1/3 innings of one-hit relief.
"We've got the arms, and that's our game plan. If one struggles we'll go to the next guy and so on," Dunfee said. "We're just blessed with a lot of good arms, and we don't mind using them."
Game two was all Gordon Lee, which scored six runs in the top of the first inning on just three hits. Following Vandiver's leadoff single and a sacrifice bunt, the next four Trojans walked for a 2-0 lead and Branton Phillips followed with a three-run triple and scored on a wild pitch.
Sexton added a solo homer in the next inning and an RBI double in the third. Dunfee, up 11-0, emptied his bench in the final two innings.
Sexton, who had five hits and drove in five in the sweep, said the rough start got his team's attention, though no one panicked.
"They just came out and hit it against us," he said. "It kind of shocked us into action, so we came in and answered right back. Down 5-0, we just had to keep it together and come back. We've worked on it all year long in the cages, and now it's showing on the field."
Vandiver had five hits and scored four runs, while Brooks and Wilson had three hits and a combined six RBIs.