CHICKAMAUGA — Saturday’s win over Red Bank (Tenn.) will not be applied toward Gordon Lee’s win total as far as the Class A baseball standings are concerned as games against out-of-state competition do not count in the power ranking numbers.
But the game’s outcome will likely go a long way toward boosting the Trojans’ confidence heading into post-season.
Trailing the Lions by three runs after a dismal third inning that saw them commit three errors, and facing hard-throwing, 6-foot-3 righty Hagen Wilkey, Gordon Lee responded with five unanswered runs over the next two innings and went on to claim a 7-4 win.
“I was curious to see how our kids would come out today,” said Gordon Lee head coach Mike Dunfee, whose team climbed up one spot to No. 3 in the power poll this past week. “This is the first game since our (pre-season) scrimmage that hasn’t counted (toward the rankings), but I thought there was kind of a quiet focus about them.
"It’s tough to come out and play well sometimes when there is nothing on the line but pride, and we kicked the ball around a little early, but we were able to recover from that one inning, finally get rolling, and do what we needed to do.”
Bryce Bailey’s solo homer off of Wilkey in the bottom of the second staked the Trojans (16-1 overall) to an early lead, but Gordon Lee’s third inning defensive miscues would be compounded as the Lions would touch up Gordon Lee starter Jake Rogers for three hits in the frame. One of those hits was a three-run homer by Gage Winton that put the visitors on top 4-1.
However, the Trojans immediately answered with two runs in the bottom of the third to get back in the game. A walk and two Red Bank errors loaded the bases with one out. Rogers brought in one run on a fielder’s choice, and a delayed double steal just moments later allowed Bay Wright to swipe home.
Gordon Lee would get the lead back with a three-spot in the fourth. Adam Vandiver tied the game with an RBI-single tied the game, and he would later come home on a sacrifice fly by Tanner Sexton. Connor Coakley, who followed Vandiver’s single with one of his own, stole second and third base, and he made it 6-4 by trotting home when the throw to third base sailed high.
Sexton would plate an insurance run in the bottom of the sixth, driving in Vandiver with a two-RBI double.
Zack Cobb, who replaced Rogers on the hill to start the fourth, pitched his way out of trouble in both the fifth and sixth innings, stranding a pair of runners each time. He struck out three batters in four innings of work to pick up the win. Rogers fanned five in his three innings of work.
Bailey and Cody Wilson each had two hits in Gordon Lee’s 11th consecutive victory.
Up next for the Trojans is a big non-region game at home against Calhoun on Monday. The Jackets are currently 13-4 with an opportunity for another handful of wins before the end of the regular season.
With teams in Class A getting bonus points for each win one of their opponents have, a victory over Calhoun could pay big dividends in the power ranking numbers at the end of the season.
“It’s a big game as far as points go,” Dunfee added. “It would be big for us to get that win, that’s for sure. It may be able to boost us enough in the points to jump up another spot if we can win it.”
Gordon Lee was also scheduled to play at Pepperell this past Friday, but the game was called off due to wet field conditions in Lindale. No word on a possible make-up date had been given as of press time.
The Trojans are scheduled to play at North Cobb Christian on Thursday before hosting Christian Heritage on Friday. Both games are slated to begin at 5 p.m.