Lee County baseball wins in rout of Jonesboro in first round of GHSA Class AAAA state playoffs

Photo by Danny Aller

Photo by Danny Aller

LEESBURG -- Worried about Lee County in this year's playoffs?

Don't be.

If anyone was nervous on the Lee County baseball team Friday night they simply took that nervous energy out on Jonesboro, which had the ill fortune of running into one of the hottest teams in this part of the state.

The Trojans opened up the GHSA Class AAAA state tournament by opening up on Jonesboro, sweeping a doubleheader, 10-5, and 15-1, to move to the Sweet 16 next week against either Effingham or Lakeside Evans.

Those two teams split on Friday and play the deciding game today. If Effingham wins, then Lee County (19-7) will be at home on Wednesday for a doubleheader with the if game scheduled for Thursday.

The Trojans put up a seven-run inning in the opening game, and then put up an eight-run inning in the five-run mercy rule nightcap.

"Our bats are really coming alive,'' Lee County coach Rob Williams said. "And we got good pitching like we've been getting all year.''

Justin McCalvin went the distance in the opener, giving up just two earned runs on six hits while striking out nine and walking two in an impressive outing that might just set the tone for a deep run this year.

Then, Matthew Suggs threw a four-inning gem, striking out seven while allowing one run on just four hits. He didn't walk anyone. Chase Burnfin pitched the fifth and picked up two strikeouts to finish the night.

"There's a long way to go,'' said Williams, who knows just how tough the playoff road can become. But he also knows his team is playing with a lot of passion and momentum.

Just look at the second game. Four sophomores -- Daniel Nichols, Jess Posey, Matt Fowler and Luke Roland -- combined to go 6-for-9.

Nichols had a memorable night. He went 2-for-3 and scored a run in the first game, and then hit his first varsity home run in the nightcap, a two-run shot in that capped off a four RBI game. He finished the night, going 4-for-6 with four RBI.

Posey went 3-for-3 and scored a run in the five-inning laugher, and Fowler and Roland each had a hit. Roland doubled and scored twice.

The Trojans were trailing, 3-0, and 4-3 in the opener, but fought back to a 4-4 tie before breaking out with a seven-run fifth inning that was started by a big home run from Chase Giffin.

"He hit a monster shot,'' Williams said. "And then they started walking us and kind of fell apart. We only had two hits in the inning.''

The nightcap was highlighted by Suggs, who hit a bases-loaded fly to center that got lost in the lights. Suggs' three-run drive brought in three runs and put the stamp on an eight-run third inning that all but sent Lee County to the next round.

"We've really worked on our hitting,'' Williams said. "And we played good defense. We made a couple of errors early in the first game, then played real well after that.''