CHICKAMAUGA, Ga. — Gordon Lee will get to chase that elusive state baseball championship one more round after sweeping past Bowdon on Wednesday in the GHSA Class A public school semifinal round, 9-0 and 5-3.
The Trojans (24-9), last year's state runners-up, will face the winner of the Irwin County/Telfair County series. Telfair won 8-5 Wednesday, but the second game was rained out. The championship series will begin Tuesday at 5 p.m. in Savannah, with a third game set for Wednesday if necessary.
Gordon Lee again received stellar starting pitching in winning its sixth consecutive postseason game. Resurgent Austin Thompson pitched his second consecutive shutout in game one on a three-hitter with six strikeouts. Freshman Jake Poindexter went the first five innings in game two, allowing one unearned run and four hits while striking out five. Caleb Hopkins stranded the tying runs on base in the seventh to earn the save.
"It was a lot of fun," Gordon Lee coach Mike Dunfee said. "The kids did well. We swung the bats well enough. They had their stud on the mound in game two and they fought hard, something they've done all year. He pitched his tail off, but we did enough to win.
"In game one Austin struggled early with his off-speed stuff, but the longer the game went on the better he got. He's a highly competitive kid, and he wants the ball in these situations. He had a great day at the plate as well."
The Trojans put game one away early with two runs in the first inning on an RBI double from Hunter Hodson and Chris Potter's run-scoring single, then added five in the second as the streaking Dylan Minghini had a two-run double and Potter, J.D. Day and Thompson added RBIs.
Thompson did the rest on the mound, completing another strong outing since recovering from an injury during football season.
Game two was tighter, though Gordon Lee one again broke first with two runs in the third inning against Bowdon ace Trent Estes on an RBI single from Thompson and Hodson's sacrifice fly. The Red Devils (24-9), the home team in game two, scored one in the bottom half on an error and a wild pitch, but further damage was limited as Kiler Cole was called out trying to steal home with one out.
"They tried to squeeze, but the kid batting pulled back and the runner kept coming," Dunfee said. "They did it earlier and got us on it, but we were ready for it this time and threw one high and away and got him. That was a big play."
The Trojans added three runs in the fifth inning after the red-hot Thompson led off with a triple. He was quickly brought home by a Hodson single, with Potter plating the second run on a fielder's choice and J.D. Day the final run on a double.
Those insurance runs proved vital after Bowdon scored two runs in the sixth against Gordon Lee reliever Jake Wright, both coming home on Mo Raymond's double, but Wright retired Braden Bowen and Trajan Brown to end the threat.
Hopkins, fresh off a complete-game shutout in the quarterfinal round, started the seventh on the mound but quickly got in trouble by hitting the first batter and walking the second. However, he retired the next three in order to send the Trojans back to the title round.
"We just want to keep doing what we're doing," Dunfee said. "We're expecting the best from whoever we play."
Contact Lindsey Young at email@example.com or at 423-757-6296; follow on Twitter @youngsports22.