BASEBALL: Gordon Lee 'ready to play' Charlton County in state finals - Prep Central Online: Gordon Lee

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BASEBALL: Gordon Lee 'ready to play' Charlton County in state finals

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Posted: Thursday, May 16, 2013 11:34 pm | Updated: 10:22 am, Fri May 17, 2013.

On Friday morning, the Gordon Lee Trojans will board a bus for a 400-mile trek to Folkson in advance of their Class A public school state championship series at Charlton County.

But before they could leave, they had one more tedious obligation to fulfill - practice.

The Navy-and-White took infield and went through a round of hitting for the final time at Claude Hendrix Field on Thursday afternoon, their minds no doubt already thinking about the challenge awaiting them some seven hours away near the Florida state line.

"We're going to have to pull teeth to get through this practice today," Dunfee said, "but they're excited. However far it is, however many hours it takes us to get there, we're just ready to play."

Not only will Gordon Lee (29-2) be facing a Charlton County team with an identical season record, they will be going up against a near-mirror image of themselves in all phases of the game.

"They've got a lot of arms," Dunfee continued. "They've probably got five or six guys that can throw and can get people out. Their defense is solid and they can swing the bats. They are a team pretty similar to us and I really think the best two public school teams in the state are playing for the championship."

Like the Trojans, the Indians split two games with the only teams to beat them this season. They went 1-1 against West Nassau, Fla. and Savannah Christian Prep, while Gordon Lee split with Darlington and Mt. Paran Christian, and like the fifth-seeded Trojans, the second-seeded Indians have cruised through the state playoffs with relative ease.

They opened with a 10-0, 5-0 sweep of 15th-seeded Marion County before an 11-5, 6-3 sweep of seventh-seeded Johnson County. They polished off 11th-seeded Trion, 6-0 and 15-0, in Monday's semifinal series, scoring 14 times in the second inning of Game 2 against the Bulldogs.

Offensively, the Indians are hitting nearly .350 as a team. Senior Jacob Baxter, a recent ABAC signee, is the team's leading hitter and one of top run producers in the lineup. The shortstop/pitcher is hitting over .450 with six home runs, 15 doubles, and close to 30 RBIs.

Other top hitters include senior Ryan Young (.361, 16 RBIs), junior Richard Dasher (.396, 12 RBIs), junior Jesse King (.435, 30 RBIs), and sophomore L.J. Talley (.411, 3 HR, 23 RBIs).

Charlton County is averaging 9.4 runs on 9.1 hits per game this season, and they have scored nine or more runs 16 times in 2013. Gordon Lee, by comparison, is averaging 10.9 runs on 11.3 hits a game, and has plated nine or more runs 21 times.

The Indians are allowing just over three runs a game to opponents this season, while Gordon Lee has given up a shade more than two runs a game on average.

Talley and King both have seven wins on the hill. Senior Scott Beasley has six wins, Young has collected five, while Dasher has two victories in primarily a closer role.

However, that staff will be tested by a Gordon Lee team that has been scoring runs at an obscene pace in the post-season.

The Trojans blistered Irwin County, 12-1 and 17-0, in the opening round before sweeping Turner County, 10-0 and 12-2, in the quarterfinals. In last week's semifinal round, Gordon Lee piled up 33 runs in a 17-8, 16-0 sweep of Treutlen.

Charlton County also played Irwin and Turner this season, beating Irwin twice by scores of 6-1 and 5-3, while taking two against Turner, 14-3 and 1-0.

By comparison, Gordon Lee defeated Trion in both meetings this season, 13-5 and 12-2, and both teams also played Christian Heritage. The Indians beat the Lions, 9-8, in the season opener in Folkson, while the Trojans claimed two subregion victories, 14-0 and 11-1.

If Charlton County has an edge - apart from playing at home - it comes in the category of recent state finals experience. The Indians went 30-6 last year, losing to Providence Christian in the Class A championship series.

"They made it to the finals last year, so they're definitely going to be hungry," Dunfee said. "I'm sure they felt they didn't play their best ball (in the finals) like we felt we didn't play our best ball in our final series last year (a second-round loss to Providence Christian). We'd like to have that (series) back, and I'm sure they feel the same way, so we're going in anticipating a pretty intense war out there. It ought to be a really good series."

However, Dunfee believes an ultra-tough schedule has prepared his team for the championship showdown. The Trojans defeated a good Red Bank (Tenn.) team and a pair of Georgia playoff participants in Calhoun (AA) and Ringgold (AAA) in non-region games and they navigated a region slate that included six other teams that made the post-season.

Seven of Region 6-A's 13 baseball-playing schools made the state tournament in either the public or private school brackets. Of those seven, five made it to their respective Elite Eight rounds, and four - Gordon Lee, Trion, Darlington, and Mt. Paran - advanced to the Final Four.

Mt. Paran has already clinched a berth in the private school state finals against a top-seeded Eagle's Landing Christian squad that was pushed to three games by Darlington in the semis.

"I think the pitching we saw all year long has helped us and I think that it will help us in this series," Dunfee added. "I know some people will think differently, but I really believe Region 6-A is the toughest region in the state. Day in and day out, you're playing quality teams, and that definitely prepares you for the post-season."

A series win would give Gordon Lee its third state baseball championship. The Trojans won the Class A title in 1979 and again in 1984, while Charlton County is looking for that elusive first state baseball crown.

The best-of-three series will begin with a doubleheader at 1 p.m. on Saturday, while Game 3, if needed, would be played on Monday in Folkson.

The Charlton Sports Network is planning to stream the games online at

 

http://www.ustream.tv/channel/charlton-s-game-of-the-week

Schedule

Date Time Game Sports
Aug 22 7:30 pm Gordon Lee @Trion Men's Football
Aug 29 7:30 pm Lakeview-Ft Oglethorpe @Gordon Lee Men's Football
Aug 29 7:30 pm LFO @Gordon Lee Men's Football
Sep 5 7:30 pm LaFayette @Gordon Lee Men's Football
Sep 12 7:30 pm Gordon Lee @Christian Heritage Men's Football
Sep 26 7:30 pm Gordon Lee @Darlington Men's Football
Oct 3 7:30 pm Armuchee @Gordon Lee Men's Football
Oct 10 7:30 pm Gordon Lee @Coosa Men's Football
Oct 17 7:30 pm Chattooga @Gordon Lee Men's Football
Oct 31 7:30 pm Gordon Lee @Model Men's Football
Nov 7 7:30 pm Dade County @Gordon Lee Men's Football

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