For 34 years, generations of players and fans have patiently waited for the Gordon Lee Trojans to win another state baseball championship.
And on May 22, 2018, ring-chasin' became ring-catchin'.
For the first time since 1984, another baseball state championship trophy will have a home in the Gordon Lee High School trophy case as the Navy-and-White polished off an unbelievable state tournament run with a sweep of the Telfair County Trojans in the Class 1A Public School state finals at Grayson Stadium in Savannah.
Gordon Lee, who entered the 24-team tournament as the No. 4 seed, steamrolled through all four of its opponents in the playoffs. They went a perfect 8-0, winning those eight games by a combined score of 63-5.
"It's just awesome," Gordon Lee head coach Mike Dunfee said. "I'm just super proud of the kids. They have worked their tails off and just got better from day one. It's been a lot of fun to watch them grow and come together. We played our best baseball at the right time.
"All I could say to them was 'thank you'. I love every one of them."
It is the third baseball state championship in school history. Gordon Lee won its first title in 1979.
Gordon Lee 10, Telfair 0
In the opener, the boys from Chickamauga left two runners on base in the bottom of the first inning, but made up for it in a huge way an inning later as they erupted for eight runs to quickly put the game out of reach.
Gordon Lee loaded the bases and got the first run in when Austin Thompson was hit by a pitch. Hunter Hodson followed with an RBI-single before Dylan Minghini busted it open with a three-run double to centerfield.
A Caleb Hopkins single would put runners at the corners for Chris Potter, who drove in a run with a fielder's choice as Hopkins moved to second base on the play. J. D. Day and Will Sizemore would come to bat for the second time in the inning and deliver back-to-back run-scoring doubles to cap the inning and signal the end of the night for Telfair starter Ryan Dopson.
The score would remain 8-0 into the fifth inning when Minghini would reach base on a one-out error. Two batters later, Potter was hit by a pitch and a passed ball would move both runners into scoring position before an outfield error brought in the final two runs to end contest on the run rule.
Minghini had two hits and three RBIs to pace the offense. Hopkins, Day and Sizemore matched him with two hits apiece.
Hopkins was the beneficiary of all the run support. He gave up just two hits and two walks, striking out four batters in five innings of work to get the victory. Dopson surrendered eight earned runs on 10 hits in 1.2 innings to take the loss.
Gordon Lee 7, Telfair 1
In the nightcap, the game would remain scoreless going into the bottom of the fourth inning when a single and an error would put two runners in scoring position for Telfair. Jake Wright came in to replace Gordon Lee starter Mason Pettigrew and was greeted by an RBI-single off the bat of Dopson to give Telfair its first lead of the doubleheader.
Trey Bess was intentionally walked to load the bases, but Wright, the sophomore righty, would bear down to strike out Tre Blankenship looking before getting Noah Harrelson swinging. He then induced a fly ball from Ian Blankenship to escape further damage.
Wright's efforts on the mound would be rewarded a half-inning later as the Trojans took the lead for good. Potter led off with a single and Sizemore laced an RBI-double to left two batters later. Justin Wooden followed suit with his own RBI-double to give Gordon Lee the 2-1 lead.
But any thoughts Telfair may have been harboring about a comeback were put to rest just one inning later.
Minghini opened the frame with a double and Potter had an RBI-single one batter later. Gordon Lee would go on to score four more times in the inning, one on a wild pitch and one coming on a bases-loaded balk by Telfair starter Ian Blankenship. The final two runs would be courtesy of Thompson, who took advantage of the minor league park dimensions with a two-run triple to center. Thompson nearly made it into an inside-the-park homerun, but was thrown out at the plate.
Thompson would get the call to finish the game on the mound and would get the final outs, including two on strikes, as the much-anticipated dogpile formed between home plate and the mound.
Potter was the only Trojan with two hits in the game, while six others had one hit apiece. Gordon Lee (28-8) was also very active on the basepaths with six steals in the game.
Pettigrew gave up just one unearned run on four hits in three innings. He finished with three strikeouts, but got no decision. Wright struck out four, walked three and gave up just one hit in three innings to pick up the victory.
Blankenship worked 5.2 inning for Telfair (24-10) in the loss. He allowed seven runs on seven hits with eight strikeouts.