Gordon Lee Trojans

In this new digital age, everything seems to have an "e" connotation added to it.

These days, we have e-mail, e-banking, e-faxes, e-invites and even e-sports and on Thursday, the Gordon Lee Trojans got what might be consider an e-victory.

Gordon Lee collected six hits and drew seven walks, while the e's - all six of them - were provided by the Indians' defense as the Navy-and-White punched their ticket to the Class A Public School state finals with a 10-6 win in Game 3 of their semifinal series.

"It feels amazing," said senior pitcher Ethan Clark, who was a freshman on the last Trojan team to play for a state title in 2014, losing in three games at Charlton County. "I couldn't have put it together any better. To get to play (Charlton County) at home after they beat us twice at their place (2013 and 2014) and get to move on to the state championship.

"Honestly, this is what we've been working toward since our freshman year, just getting back. I think me and all the rest of the guys are just happy and relieved to finally get here. There's no other place I'd rather be."

Both teams were scoreless and had just one hit between them through three innings, but the Trojans - who stranded 10 runners on base in Game 2 on Wednesday - finally broke through against Indians' starter Tyler Beckham.

An error and a double by Dylan Minghini got the inning going, while a second error allowed Noah Peterson to score the game's first run. Later in the inning, Drew McDaniel rifled a two-out RBI-double down the left field line and Justin Wooden's RBI-single to center pushed the lead to 3-0.

The Indians (24-8) got two runs back off Clark in the home half of the inning. Mitch Baxter singled and Tyler Chesser followed with a double before Jack Gowen's sacrifice fly brought in a run. Trevor Knowles later plated a run with a ground out.

But the top of the fifth would really prove to be the Indians' undoing.

Charlton committed four huge errors in the frame, allowing Gordon Lee to bring in five important runs. The Trojans had just one hit in the inning - a leadoff infield single by Mason Pettigrew. Gordon Lee got two straight bases-loaded walks from Beckham and one from Chesser, who entered the game to pitch with his team down 5-2.

The third error of the inning came with the bases loaded and two outs as a high throw at first base allowed Caleb Hopkins and Austin Thompson to score, makingĀ it 8-2.

The Trojans would tack on two final insurance runs in the sixth. Thompson delivered a sacrifice fly to bring in Noah Peterson, and following another Charlton pitching change, McDaniel ripped another RBI-double down the third base line to bring in Gordon Lee's final run of the day.

The Indians tried to make things interesting in the bottom of the seventh as they scored four times, including a three-run homer by Andrew Knowles. Hunter Hodson replaced Clark on the mound with one out and was greeted with a double, but Hodson got a fly out to center and a grounder to shortstop to finally set off the celebration.

"I knew it was going to be a war and I told them before the game it would be a war because every game we've ever played against them as been a war," Trojans' head coach Mike Dunfee said. "I'm just super proud of the kids that they will get a chance to play for (a state title).

"Ethan wanted the ball today. Heck, he wanted the ball in Game 2 yesterday to try and close it out, but he did what he had to do. He had one inning where they got a couple of hits on some really good pitches and they scored a couple of runs, but he settled down. He finally got gassed there at the end and Hunter came in and did a great job to close it."

Clark went 6.1 innings, allowing eight hits and finishing with six strikeouts. Pettigrew had a double, while McDaniel was the only Gordon Lee player with multiple hits.

Beckham took the loss for the Indians.

Next up for No. 2-seeded Gordon Lee (28-5) is No. 1-seeded Schley County. The Wildcats are 32-2 overall and were the Region 4 champions. They swept Telfair County, 6-2 and 18-1, in their semifinal series on Wednesday.

The date, time and location of the championship series is still unknown. The three-game series will start on either Wednesday, May 24 or Thursday, May 25 with a doubleheader. Game 3, if needed, would be played on Saturday, May 27. The games will be played in either Rome or Savannah.

"We're going to enjoy this one tonight and then come back and start getting refocused," Dunfee added. "We're not done yet. We're excited to be going (to the state finals), but the work isn't over yet."