LAFAYETTE — On Friday night, for the second time in as many nights, the Gordon Lee Trojans put up eight runs in a single inning.
And for the second time in as many nights, the Navy-and-White used the big inning to propel them to another road win.
A night after an 11-4 win at Ringgold, the Trojans improved to 4-0 with a 9-5 victory in LaFayette, spoiling the home opener for the Ramblers.
“We’re scoring in bunches right now and it’s kind of hard to explain,” Gordon Lee head coach Mike Dunfee said. “I guess it’s just one of those things where you get a couple of hits and it starts getting contagious. Right now, I just wish we were playing in baseball weather. Playing in the 70’s sure would be nice, but I’ll settle for at least the 50’s.”
While Dunfee and nearly everyone else who braved the elements were just looking for a way to stay warm, it was the Gordon Lee bats that provided the biggest source of heat in the top of the fourth inning.
After picking up an unearned run in the top of the first, the Trojans racked up eight runs on eight hits during their fourth-inning eruption.
Tanner Sexton, Bay Wright, and Bryce Bailey all singled to load the bases before Jake Rogers singled off LaFayette starter Micah Wyatt to bring home the first two runs of the inning. Tucker Bradley legged out an infield single to bring in another run, and Adam Vandiver delivered a bases-loaded double to score two more.
Wright and Connor Coakley added RBI-singles later in the frame, and Vandiver came home on a balk.
The Ramblers, who failed to get a single hit of Rogers in the first four innings, touched up reliever Zack Cobb for two runs on three hits in the bottom of the fifth. Wyatt picked up both RBIs on a two-out double.
Then in the seventh, LaFayette made things interesting as they scored three more times and brought the tying run to the plate.
Two walks and a hit batsman by Bradley set the table for Andy Boss, who laced a two-run single, and another walk and an error scored a third run and loaded the bases with two outs. However, Bradley would get the final out on strikes to end the threat and the game.
“The thing this year that we’re preaching is ‘stay humble, stay hungry’,” Dunfee said. “We can’t get into the hype about anything that might happen in the future. One thing that has concerned me the most is us getting off to a fast start with some wins, then getting lazy and letting people sneak up and beat us.
“But I think we’re doing a great job of not letting that happen so far. They know every game matters this year, as far as the state playoffs are concerned, so they’re staying focused and not relaxing. We’ll be fine as long as we keep the pedal to the metal.”
Rogers struck out four and walked just one in four innings to get the win. Bradley allowed one hit and walked five, but struck out six as he threw the last two innings of relief.
Coakley, Wright, Rogers, and Bradley all went 2-for-3 while six different Trojans drove in at least one run.
Wyatt took the loss for LaFayette, who fell to 0-2 on the season. He was pulled after recording just one out in the fourth. Jacob Pendley and Evan Head closed out the game on the hill for the Ramblers.
Brennan Gray and Head each singled and scored in the loss.
“We really, really struggled at the plate the first four innings,” said LaFayette head coach Mike Shank, “but we came back the last three innings, strung some things together, and had a pretty positive finish, although it still would have better to get the win. It’s only our second game of the season, but there still a lot of positives.
“We had that one rough inning where we didn’t look so hot, but you just can’t give up eight runs in an inning. If we get out of that inning just giving up one or two (runs), maybe we come back and win, but that’s not what was in the cards tonight.”
LaFayette will host Gordon Central in a non-region game Monday at 5:55 p.m., while Gordon Lee will entertain Trion in the first Region 6-A game of the season Tuesday at 5 p.m.
The Trojans are slated to host the Ramblers in a rematch Thursday at 5 p.m.