It took three games and three extra days, but the Gordon Lee Trojans finally know who they will be playing in the quarterfiinal round of the Class A public school state baseball tournament.
More importantly, however, the Trojans know where they will be playing.
Gordon Lee (25-2), the No. 5 seed, avoided a long road trip after No. 13 seed Turner County stunned No. 4 seed Baconton Charter in their first-round series.
Turner County split a doubleheader with Baconton on Friday, winning 9-6 in Game 1 before falling in the nightcap, 16-9. Game 3 was tied up 4-4 in the bottom of eighth inning with Turner County batting when rain halted play, forcing the two teams to finish up on Monday at 4 p.m.
The completion of the deciding game didn't take long however, as Rebels catcher Kendale Kicklighter delivered a bases-loaded RBI-single shortly after the restart to give his team a 5-4 win.
Now the Rebels will travel north to Chickamauga to face a Gordon Lee team that simply mauled No. 12 seed Irwin County, 12-1 and 17-0, in a doubleheader sweep on Friday.
Trojans' head coach Mike Dunfee said he and his team were happy to get another series at home.
"That's big for us," he explained. "Those long road trips can do some wear and tear to a team, so we'd like to avoid one of them for as long as we can. Plus a lot of local people that couldn't make the drive down there can now come out and watch us at home. It's a bonus for us."
Coach Casey Soliday's Rebels will enter the game with a 15-10 overall record after going 6-8 in Region 2, the same region as Irwin County.
Offensively, the Rebels look on paper to be a small-ball type of team as they have just three home runs on the season, according to stats available on MaxPreps.com. As a team, they are batting .290 with 154 strikeouts on the season.
Individually, shortstop Grant Muse is the team's leading hitter with a .457 average. He has seven doubles and three triples on the year to go with 13 RBIs. Second baseman Ted Moore (.403, 1 HR, 13 RBIs), third baseman Jacob McIntosh (.393, 21 RBIs), and Kicklighter (.314, 11 RBIs) are some of their bigger run-producers.
Other names to look for include first baseman Luke Soliday, left fielder Antozio Dawson, and right fielder Rob Calhoun.
Muse is also the team's ace on the mound. He has an 8-2 record with a 2.23 ERA in 59 2/3 innings pitched. He has 82 strikeouts this season while allowing 31 walks. Soliday is 1-5 with a 4.09 ERA and 40 strikeouts and 17 walks in 37 2/3 innings pitched. McIntosh will also see innings for the Rebels.
The lone common opponent for Trojans and Rebels is Irwin County. Turner faced the Indians twice this season, losing 10-0 and 12-5.
However, Dunfee expects the Rebels to come to Chickamauga with confidence after their first-round series win.
"They have a few more seniors than Irwin did, so it should be a test for us," he explained. "This will be Turner's first-ever trip to the Elite Eight, so you know they will be excited, and hopefully they'll bring a lot of fans up with them."
Although the series is supposed to begin on Wednesday, Dunfee said it's looking more like the series will have to be pushed back to Thursday due to the large amount of rain that has fallen in the area over the last few days.
The best-of-three series will begin with a doubleheader with a third game, if necessary, to be played the following day.
"I'd rather play Wednesday, but I don't think that's going to be an option at this point," Dunfee said. "Nothing is official yet, but the bottom line is, I don't think our field will be playable until Thursday. There's a lot of standing water in the outfield. It's backing up, but just not fast enough."