The Lee County Trojans just couldn't get their offense going Monday, and were swept by Pope in the Class AAAAAA state championship.
The Greyhounds held Lee County to just four hits over the 2-1 and 5-1 victories. Pope pitchers Ryan Webb and Chase Smith each threw complete games in the wins.
"You just have to tip your cap," says Lee County head coach Brandon Brock. "Those guys were great."
"They were dynamite today," says Pope head coach Joseph Rowland. "They were on their A-Game, and when they are, they're tough to beat."
The Trojans tied Game 1 at 1-1 in the 4th with Garrett Suiter's RBI single up the middle. But Pope retook the lead in the 5th on a Jared Miller RBI double to right. That would prove to be the game-winning hit.
In Game 2, the Trojans made it a 2-1 game in the 4th when a nearly perfect Josh Hatcher bunt forced an error, as the throw to first sailed down the right field line. Jon Logsdon hustled home from first to score.
Once again though, the Greyhounds answered and did so quickly. Pope scored three in the home half of the 4th, two from sacrifice flies and one from a Buddy Floyd RBI single.
After the games, Brock said it was very simple.
"They were just better than us today," he says. "We could play them nine times and beat them three or four. But they were better than us today. We were outplayed and outcoached from top to bottom."
It's a tough pill to swallow for the Trojans, who finally got their opportunity at a state title after the week of craziness that surrounded their state semifinal.
"These past couple weeks have probably been some of the hardest of my life," admits senior shortstop and pitcher Tyler Simon. "But I wouldn't want to do this journey with any other boys than the ones I just did it with."
The Trojans are state runners-up for the second time in school history. It's not the ending that so many folks in Leesburg were hoping for. But the loss, and not even the Rome rain, could dampen the spirits of Brandon Brock.
"Nobody can ever say we didn't have an interesting journey," he laughs. "Winning is great, but I'm so proud of them."
The Trojans will graduate eight seniors from the team.
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