Lee County starting pitcher Jess Posey throws off the mound Friday against Wayne County. Posey pitched six shutout innings in the opener. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
LEESBURG — Lee County advanced to the Sweet 16 in the GHSA Class AAAA baseball playoffs Friday with a sweep of Wayne County in two games that were polar opposites of each other.
The Trojans hammered Wayne in Game 1, 10-0, in six innings, but the Yellow Jackets made things interesting in Game 2, a marathon 10-5 Lee County win.
Lee County moves on to Round 2, where it will play host to Forsyth Central on Wednesday with a doubleheader in another best-of-three series. The Bulldogs, a No. 3 seed, upset second-seed Winder-Barrow on the road Friday.
“They’re used to going on the road and winning,” Lee County head coach Rob Williams said of the second-round matchup.
The Trojans cruised in the opener behind starter Jess Posey, who threw six innings of shutout baseball, allowing just five hits. Posey also went 3-for-4 at the plate with two RBI.
“Jess did a great job on the hill,” Williams said. “He’s really coming around, and there was excellent defense (in both games).”
Posey improved to 7-0 on the season and said he wants the ball in the opener of every series.
“That first one is always big,” Posey said. “It sets the tone for the next game. I want to play better competition (deep in the playoffs). Those games are fun.”
Daniel Nichols added a three-run double and Pedro Cruz and Matt Mears had RBI hits in the 10-0, Game 1 shutout.
The Trojans nearly gave away a 5-0 lead in Game 2 when Wayne County chipped away to get it to within 6-4 in the best-of-three series. Then came the sixth and the infield fly rule that swung momentum.
Lee County loaded the bases with one out when Luke Roland hit a pop up to first that dropped in the infield. Pinch-runner Austin Joiner took off for home after the ball landed, although Roland was automatically called out on the infield fly rule.
The throw to home beat Joiner, but because there was no force out at the plate, Joiner was ruled safe after the catch failed to tag him.
“Even though they know the situation, stay put, he got excited and took off,” Williams said. “We were able to steal a run that we shouldn’t have.”
Lee County (19-7) turned the sixth into a four-run inning with two more scoring on Jack Bell’s infield single with the bases loaded to blow the game open and take a 10-4 lead.
Lee’s Chris Mosley (7-1) picked up the win with four innings of work, allowing four runs on seven hits with seven strikeouts. Andrew Stroud had two hits and two RBI in the Game 2 win.
Aaron Palmer led the Yellow Jackets (13-14) with five hits and three RBI in the series.