Schley County’s bid for a state championship falls short

Published 5:57 pm Thursday, May 23, 2019

From Staff Reports


SAVANNAH – After Schley County starting pitcher Lorne Barineau pitched a brilliant game to lead the Wildcats to a 3-2 victory on Monday, May 20, the GHSA Class A-Public state championship series between the Wildcats and Gordon Lee (GL) was tied 1-1. The Trojans won Game 1 by the score of 3-0. This set the stage for the winner-take-all Game 3 to decide the 2019 state championship on Wednesday, May 22, at Grayson Stadium in Savannah. Having kept their dreams of a state title alive, the Wildcats were ready to take Game 3 and secure their second state championship in three years, but the Trojans dashed those dreams by scoring four runs in the bottom of the first inning en route to a 9-3 victory and their second straight state title.

Going into Game 3, SC head Coach Chuck Cheek knew that losing one of his key players, Ashton Goodin, was going to make things more difficult. Goodin was ejected in Game 1 for knocking over the catcher while trying to score. The home plate umpire deemed it malicious intent. According to GHSA rules, Goodin was not able to play in Games 2 or 3.

“Losing Ashton on the play to end Game 1 was tough,” Cheek said. “He’s been one of our guys on the mound all year and it hurt not having him out there. Maybe more importantly, it took his bat out of the lineup. As many times as we had guys on base in Game 3, I would have liked to have seen him get a chance to swing it.”

According to information from the Chattanooga Times Free Press, the Wildcats (29-7) got off to a good start in the top of the first. They took a 1-0 lead on an RBI single by Dylan Taylor. However, the Trojans scored four runs on three hits and an error in the bottom of the inning.

The Trojans (33-5) scored three more runs on three hits in the bottom of the second. They capped off their dominant performance by scoring two more runs in the third to take a 9-1 lead. That would be all the run production they needed.

GL starting pitcher Brody Cobb earned the win. Cobb pitched four innings, allowing one run on four hits.

“During the game, we didn’t overcome some adversity early,” Cheek said. “I thought Trent was pitching really well and the score didn’t reflect it. That was frustrating. We felt like he got squeezed a little early and some of those were game-changing calls, especially early and against a team of Gordon Lee’s caliber.”

Cheek went on to say that as the game continued on, his club made a couple of mistakes defensively and that they couldn’t get the big hit with runners in scoring position. “There are going to be a lot of ‘What ifs’ for us after this series,” Cheek said.

Offensively, Barineau had a good day at the plate as he earned two hits in the game.

In spite of losing the state championship, Cheek was extremely proud of the way his club performed throughout the regular season and in the playoffs. He was particularly pleased with one trait that this year’s club had. “They never quit. Even in Game 3 when we were down 7-1 and later 9-1, you could see the guys grinding out at bats and trying to get back in the game,” Cheek said. “We won three playoff rounds that we also could have lost. We had more walk-off wins this year than any other team we’ve ever had. Somehow, this team found a way to win most of the games they played this year. It wasn’t always pretty, but they hate to lose. They usually found a way to make sure that didn’t happen.”