For the first time in 10 years, the Lee County Trojans are one of the final four teams left playing for a state baseball championship.
The Trojans host Johns Creek in the Class AAAAAA state semifinals beginning Wednesday in Leesburg, and Lee County knows they are the odd man out of the teams left.
The three other teams playing in Class AAAAAA- Johns Creek, River Ridge, and Pope- are all from metro Atlanta.
"We're definitely an outlier for sure," laughs head coach Brandon Brock. "But that's kind of cool, you know? This part of the state gets forgotten about a little bit, so we're just glad to be involved with them I guess."
The Trojans know most in the Atlanta area will consider them heavy underdogs against any team from the state's capital. But that's just fine by the team, who says they come to expect being underestimated by those north of Macon.
"They just expect us not to make it this far," says senior outfielder Brenton Phillips. "Maybe we can surprise them."
One thing that can't be underestimated is the Trojans' pitching.
Led by Mississippi State signee Josh Hatcher, the Lee County arms have dominated their previous playoff opponents. Through seven postseason games, the Trojans have allowed only six runs. The most runs scored against Lee County in a game this state playoffs: two.
Brock admits the Trojans have struggled to score runs in some games, but says he believes their pitching can hold up for another few games.
"We have a little buzzword that we use: eustress. That's a good stress, and we want to be able to function when it's high intensity," Brock says. "We don't score a lot of runs, so a lot of times it is high impact pitches we're throwing. And we've been fortunate to get some guys go as deep in games as we have."
The Trojans will try to clinch their first state championship series berth since 2005. The best-of-three series begins Wednesday with a doubleheader at Trojan Field. Game 1 is set for a 4:30 p.m. first pitch with Game 2 following 30 minutes after. Game 3 would be Thursday at 5:00 p.m. if necessary.
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