CHICKAMAUGA, Ga. — With his team having not played a baseball game in nearly two weeks, Gordon Lee coach Mike Dunfee was understandably concerned about the Trojans' sharpness entering Monday night's GHSA Class A public school second-round series with Clinch County.
It took only a few innings to ease those worries as the Trojans (22-8) swept in dominating fashion, 10-0 and 9-0. They will host the winner of the Charlton County/Taylor County series Friday in the quarterfinal round. Those two teams split games Monday, with game three today in Folkston.
"We were worried about the time off, but the kids did a great job last week of prepping for it," Dunfee said. "We were focused and ready to play and this was a lot of fun."
Not only did the Trojans cruise into the quarters, but they also welcomed back senior Dylan Minghini to the lineup. Minghini tore his meniscus in March and initially was ruled out for the season. However, after a second opinion and minor surgery, he was cleared to play and filled the designated hitter role Monday, hitting a three-run homer in game two to go with three doubles on the day.
"After I injured my knee they were saying it was three or four months of recovery, but I went to Dr. (Edward) Cain in Birmingham and he said he could just trim it up and I would probably be out only three weeks or so," Minghini said. "That was great to hear. To be able to play some more with my teammates when I thought I was done is just great."
The other big story Monday was the Trojans' pitching. Austin Thompson, who has resumed his ace role after recovering from a football injury, pitched a five-inning one-hitter in game one, with freshman Jake Poindexter matching him for six innings of one-hit pitching in game two. Dunfee had planned to work several hurlers into the doubleheader but was glad to alter the strategy.
"Thompson and Poindexter did such a good job that we left them out there," Dunfee said. "It was great to see Austin getting back to where he was last year, and to see our freshman come in and pound the zone was just outstanding."
Gordon Lee rapped out 23 hits, including nine for extra bases. While Minghini had four of those, Hunter Hodson had three — all triples. Senior Caleb Hopkins hit a first-game home run and added a double in game two, while catcher Chris Potter had five hits in the two games with four RBIs, including knocking in the opener's first two runs with a first-inning single.
Hodson followed in the second inning with a three-run homer for a 5-0 lead, more than enough runs for Thompson, who allowed only one runner to get to second base.
Minghini got game two off to a rousing start with a three-run blast, and Hodson plated two runs in the second with a triple. Poindexter made the runs stand up with elite efficiency, setting down the first 16 Clinch County batters before allowing a walk and an infield single in the sixth. Dylan Wright pitched a perfect seventh inning.
"I'm pleased, no doubt, but we have to get back to work tomorrow and get ready for whatever is next Friday," Dunfee said. "Today was just fun. Having Dylan back is great, not just because of what he can do at the plate, but to go from being told his season was over to now getting some bonus baseball with his teammates, that's just exciting."
Also in Class A public, Trion was swept at No. 2 overall seed Irwin County, 11-1 and 14-4.
Contact Lindsey Young at email@example.com or at 423-757-6296; follow on Twitter @youngsports22.