Unfortunately for the Warriors, their fifth inning didn't come until Game 2.
Gordon Lee broke out the hitting sticks early and often, run-ruling Lakeview in Game 1 by a 17-2 count before winning the NGAC title with an 8-0 shutout in the nightcap.
The two-game sweep capped a 20-1 season for the Trojans and gave Gordon Lee's departing eighth graders a third consecutive NGAC championship. Their only loss in the past three seasons came on March 20 of this season when they fell, 3-2, at Lakeview.
"I told (the eighth graders) at the start of the season that I needed them to be the team leaders," GLMS head coach Josh Groce said. "Toward the end of the year, they became more vocal and the whole team starting clicking, but they all led by example from Day 1. They work hard in practice, and they even stay after practice to help work on the field. They've done everything I've asked of them, and I'm very proud of them."
The Trojans spotted the Warriors a run without a hit in the top of the first inning of Game 1, but erased any potential drama by exploding for 10 runs in the bottom half of the inning.
A total of 16 batters came to the plate in the frame. Five had basehits, including two-RBI doubles by Chaney Rogers and Tucker Bradley. Four more reached on walks and three were helped out by Lakeview errors.
"Yeah, those 10-run innings help a lot," Groce said with a laugh. "In the last round (against Ringgold) we scored five (runs) in the first inning of the first game, and we scored four in the first inning of the second game, but we hardly did anything after that, so I was really stressing to them today that if we scored in the first inning, we had to keep scoring and not let up. As a team, we did a good job of staying focused."
The Trojans played station-to-station baseball all game long, tacking on two more runs in the third before five more in the fourth brought a halt to the game. Ethan Clark had the game-winning RBI on a single up the middle.
Devin Wolfe walked and eventually scored on a wild pitch for Lakeview's first run while their other run was scored by Andrew Brock on a walk and three wild pitches in the third.
Gordon Lee was aggressive on the basepaths in the opener, swiping eight bases. They were also very efficient at the plate, collecting RBIs on four of the 10 outs they made in the game.
Rogers threw three hitless innings with four strikeouts and three walks in getting the win while Gavin Roberson pitched a perfect fourth inning with two strikeouts.
Rogers was 4-for-4 at the plate with three RBIs while Clark and Bradley had two hits and three RBIs each. Braxton Salmon had two hits and a pair of RBIs while Caleb O'Neal was 2-for-3 with two runs scored.
Hayden Griffin took the loss for the Warriors after failing to escape the top of the first.
Bradley took the hill for the Trojans in Game 2 and threw a sparkling complete game, one-hitter, allowing just two walks while baffling the Warrior hitters to the tune of 13 strikeouts. A one-out single by Chris Brown in the top of the first was the only blemish on Bradley's scorecard.
Gordon Lee pounded out 12 hits in the nightcap, 11 of them being singles. They also stole six more bases in the finale, five coming in the first two innings as they jumped out to a 6-0 lead and never looked back.
Rogers capped a 7-for-7 day with three more hits and a RBI in Game 2. O'Neal, Salmon, and Bradley each had two hits while Salmon picked up a pair of RBIs. Nick Wilson chipped in with a double, a run scored, and a RBI on a sacrifice fly.
Adam Wright suffered the loss for the Warriors.
"This team has done everything that's been asked of them," Groce added. "We knew Lakeview was a great hitting team, but our kids believed in the game plan, and they stepped up. They also hit the ball extremely well. It was a total team effort all the way around."