CHICKAMAUGA, Ga. — On the surface, Monday's 10-2 victory over Calhoun was the biggest baseball win of the season for the red-hot Gordon Lee Trojans. Dig deeper and you find a team not ready to put too much weight on one game, even if it was a strong win over a perennial Class AA power.
"We preach this from day one: Stay humble but stay hungry," Gordon Lee coach Mike Dunfee said. "We really treated it like another game, though it was a nice win. They're a quality opponent. It was like a boxing match in that they scored that one and we came right back and answered and didn't let up."
The Yellow Jackets (13-5) capitalized on two errors to score a run in the third inning against Gordon Lee ace Conard Broom, but the Trojans (17-1) sent nine to the plate in the bottom half, scoring three times. Conner Coakley's first career home run, a two-run shot to left field, was the big hit.
Calhoun got within one in the fifth against reliever Branton Phillips on Weston McArthur's RBI groundout, but again the Trojans answered in the bottom half. This time they had 10 batters and scored five times. Two Calhoun errors opened the floodgates and Cody Wilson and Adam Vandiver added RBI singles.
"All of our losses have been because of committing multiple errors in an inning," Calhoun coach Chip Henderson said. "We've got to clean that up. If you play a team like Gordon Lee, you can't give them four and five outs. We didn't threaten much offensively, either, but when we did a base-running error took us out of that."
Broom (6-1) earned the win with four innings of two-hit, six-strikeout pitching, and Phillips got a save with three strong innings. Vandiver had three of the Trojans' 13 hits, with Bryce Bailey, Jake Rogers and Wilson adding twoeach. Andrew Haynes notched three of Calhoun's four hits.
The win against a quality higher-classification opponent will help Gordon Lee's power ranking, which determines where a team is seeded in the upcoming Class A public school playoffs. The Trojans will earn points for beating Calhoun and will earn additional points based on the Jackets' total wins at the end of the regular season.
To that end it might have been the season's biggest game for Gordon Lee, though Vandiver, one of the team's seniors, insisted otherwise.
"It's not a bigger game than the rest, so we just came out here and did what we had to do," he said. "We do get a lot of points because they're a good team, but we can't get too cocky because of it."
Lindsey Young is a sports writer at the Chattanooga Times Free Press who started work at the Chattanooga News-Free Press 24 years ago. He covers the Northwest Georgia prep beat and NASCAR. Lindsey’s hometown is Ringgold, Ga., and he graduated from Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe High School. He received an associate’s degree from Dalton Junior College (now Dalton State) and a bachelor’s degree in communications from UTC. He has won several writing awards, including two Tennessee Sports ...