CHICKAMAUGA - An inning and a half into their state semifinal series with Treutlen, the Gordon Lee Trojans found themselves in an unusual situation - trailing.
After outscoring Irwin County and Turner County by a combined 51-3 in their first four state playoff games, the Navy-and-White went to bat in the bottom of the second inning staring at a 5-0 deficit against a fired-up Vikings squad.
The deficit, however, wouldn't last very long.
Fifth-seeded Gordon Lee scored twice in the second inning, piled up five runs in the third, and later erupted for seven runs in the fifth to cap a 17-8 victory in Game 1. The Navy-and-White later completed the sweep with a 16-0, five-inning drubbing in the nightcap.
With the win, Gordon Lee (29-2) will travel south to Folkston for the Class A public school championship series where the Trojans will be looking for the program's third state title and their first since 1984.
Treutlen (19-10) took advantage of an error and an infield single to score twice in the top of the first inning of Game 1, and they added three runs in the second to put the Trojans in unfamiliar territory.
Undaunted, Gordon Lee picked up two runs in the bottom of the second before scoring five in the third to take the lead for good. Treutlen pulled to within a run at 9-8 going into the bottom of the fifth, but the seven-spot by the Trojans would be more than enough of a cushion the rest of the way.
"They never panicked," Gordon Lee head coach Mike Dunfee said. "They knew it was going to be a long game and they just had to battle back. After those two runs in the second, they knew it was just a matter of time. They made the adjustments and had some quality at-bats. It was good for us to be in a situation like that so we're prepared if it happens again."
Gordon Lee pounded out 19 hits in Game 1, including four from Adam Vandiver, who drove in two runs and scored three times. Tanner Sexton was 3 for 5 with three RBIs, including a two-run single in the fifth.
Daniel Brooks went 3 for 3 with two doubles, a triple, and three RBIs. Connor Coakley and Cody Wilson each had two hits and two RBIs, while Bay Wright was 2 for 4.
Zack Cobb got the win in relief of Branton Phillips, who was replaced after walking the leadoff batter in the third. Tucker Bradley allowed just one hit in the last 2 1/3 innings to pick up a save.
Phillips' bases-clearing three-run triple highlighted a six-run first inning in Game 2 and the Vikings would never threaten. Sexton added a solo home run in the second inning and doubled home a run in the third as the Trojans scored in all five innings.
Sexton and Phillips both finished with two hits and two RBIs. Jake Rogers and Logan Peterson knocked in runs with sacrifice flies. Sam Walker singled home a run. Hunter Daughtery added a triple, and Ryan Armour doubled in the rout.
Conard Broom threw all five innings for the Trojans, allowing just one hit - a single by Brad Cammack in the top of the fourth. The sophomore finished with six strikeouts.
Now all that stands between Gordon Lee and a state title is the second-seeded Charlton County Indians (29-2), who swept 11th-seeded Trion, 6-0 and 15-0. The Indians were runner-up to Providence Christian for the Class A state championship late season.
"You really don't want the season to end because the kids are having a lot of fun right now," Dunfee added. "It's going to an intense, big-game atmosphere down there, but I feel like we have a good shot if we just play our game like we have all season long."
The best-of-three series will begin with a doubleheader on Saturday. A third game, if needed, is slated for Monday.