LEESBURG -- Neither Lee County nor Jones County was happy Friday night.
Both felt they should be moving on to round two of the GHSA baseball Class AAAA state playoffs. Instead, they'll need a rubber match to figure things out.
The Trojans took Game 1 of the best-of-three series, 2-0, behind a gem from starting pitcher Cole Goodwin, but errors cost them in a 4-3 Game 2 loss that forces today's deciding Game 3. The Trojans and Greyhounds play at 4 p.m. Region 2-AAAA No. 3 seed Greenbrier swept Region 4-AAAA No. 2 Jonesboro Friday and will either travel to Leesburg or host Jones County in the second round.
"It's a one-game series now," said Lee County head coach Rob Williams, who won career game No. 499 on Friday and is one game short of the 500-win milestone. "We pitched really well both games. Cole was really sharp (in Game 1). I told (Chase) Burnfin he threw well enough to win (in Game 2)."
Lee County (16-11, Region 1-AAAA No. 1 seed) took a 3-2 lead in Game 2 on Nate Gay's sacrifice fly that scored Pedro Cruz and was primed for the sweep before Jones County answered in its half of the sixth.
After singles by Anthony Harrison and Cody Lanford, Jones County's Cody Evans laced a two-run double that knocked Burnfin out of the game. Lee's Justin Walker finished the inning without further damage, but the Trojans could get nothing off Greyhounds' closer Eric Coleman in the seventh. Coleman picked up the win in damage-control relief after 6-foot-9 starter Dylan Dupree left in the sixth with no outs and runners on first and third.
Both teams had been averaging more than eight runs a game this season, but combined for just nine combined runs in two games.
"I expected a lot of runs to be scored," Jones County head coach Barry Veal said. "Both teams' pitchers pitched well. I think we can both say we had chances to score."
Burnfin (6-4) went 5 1/3 innings and allowed four runs, only two of which were earned thanks to two errors that led to two runs in the fifth. Dupree gave up three runs, one earned, in five-plus innings.
Chase Griffin went 1-for-3 with an RBI groundout, and Andrew Stroud had a sacrifice fly that scored Griffin.
Goodwin (6-3) threw a complete game, four-hitter in Game 1, baffling Greyhound hitters for seven innings. He allowed six hits and struck out five.
"All my stuff was working," Goodwin said of his four-pitch repertoire.
He threw 115 pitches in the shutout and only got into trouble in two innings. Jones County loaded the bases in the third before grounding out to end the inning, and then put runners on first and third in the seventh before Goodwin ended it with a strikeout.
"He kept them off balance," Williams said. "He got his changeup over for strikes, and we got a lot of fly ball outs and had them out in front."
Goodwin helped his own cause at the plate, adding a run-scoring single in the fourth inning of Game 1 to break a scoreless tie. Lee County added another run in the sixth when Mark Fowler stole second and Gay scored after an errant catcher's throw.
Fowler had two hits in Game 1 for the Trojans. Evans went 3-for-7 in the two-game set for Jones County (21-6, Region 4-AAAA No. 4), while Coleman was 3-for-6.
Williams said the Game 3 starter would be either Tanner Stone, Jay Howell or Walker, who threw two-thirds of an inning Friday. All will likely pitch. Shortstop and pitcher Jess Posey has been cleared to play but did not enter Friday's doubleheader. Williams said he would likely only be used as a defensive replacement or pinch-hitter if necessary. Posey played in the first six games of the season but has missed the rest of the season due to a back injury.
Veal said Brandon Spivey would likely start for Jones County today, while the side-armed closer, Coleman, could also return.
Veal, who has coached for 18 seasons and is a long-time friend of Williams, didn't know his counterpart was seeking win No. 500 Friday. He said he wouldn't mind making him work for it.
"We'll try to give (Williams) one more year" to get 500 wins, he joked after the split.
Lee County, meanwhile, knew it had missed an opportunity Friday to advance.
"We're still a little down, but I think we'll be ready (today)," Goodwin said.