The Gordon Lee Lady Trojans advanced to the winners' bracket final in the Class A Public School Division state championship in Columbus on Thursday after taking down a pair of familiar names.
Gordon Lee opened up the Elite Eight round of the tournament with a 7-2 win over Georgia Military College Prep in a rematch of last year's state finals before defeating longtime region rival Trion, 5-1, in a winners' bracket semifinal game.
The Lady Trojans (31-3) will take on another Region 6 foe Friday night as they face Mt. Zion-Carroll at 6 p.m. The winner will punch their ticket to the state finals, which will begin at 12 noon on Saturday.
Gordon Lee 7, GMC 2
The Navy-and-White drew first blood with a solo run in the top of the second in the highly-anticipated rematch before scoring twice in both the third and fourth innings.
The Lady Bulldogs scored one run in the bottom half of the third and fourth, but would not cross the plate again. Gordon Lee would tack on a pair of insurance runs in the top of the seventh to secure the victory.
Gordon Lee pounded out 13 hits, while taking advantage on four GMC errors. Canaan Burnett was 3-for-4 with a pair of doubles. Paxton Grimes had two hits, including a homer, and drove in two. Gracey Kruse added a solo homer of her own.
Kirbie Bradley went 2-for-3 with a run scored. Faith Alexander was 2-for-4 with a double. Reagan Thompson and Katherine Grace McElhaney each had a hit and an RBI in the win, while Maddie Clark also had a single.
Burnett worked the first 3.1 innings in the circle and recorded the win. She allowed two runs - one earned - on four hits and a pair of walks, while she finished with two strikeouts. Emma Minghini pitched the final 3.2 innings, striking out two and giving up just two hits.
Gordon Lee 5, Trion 1
The Lady Trojans led 3-0 after three innings, and then answered Trion's lone run in the top of the fourth with two more of their own in the home half of the frame.
Gordon Lee had just six hits, but was aided by seven Trion walks.
Alexander went 3-for-4 with a run and an RBI. Kruse doubled, scored once and collected two RBIs. Clark had a hit, an RBI, a walk and a run scored, while Burnett was 1-for-3.
Burnett threw the first four innings, allowing three hits and striking out two. The run she allowed was unearned. Minghini worked the final three innings, scattering four hits and walking two with one strikeout.