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Bellaire’s Dunfee leads Georgia team to repeat state baseball title

BELLAIRE — Mike Dunfee is doubly happy these days.

The 1993 Bellaire High grad is head baseball coach at Gordon Lee High School in Chickamauga, Ga. His Trojans recently captured the Class A state championship, capping a brilliant 32-5 campaign.

The state title is extra sweet as it marks a repeat championship performance for Dunfee’s program. A year prior, his Trojans were state runnersrup.

That is a most impressive three-year run. Dunfee has been the Gordon Lee head coach for eight years.

“I was worried about the team being complacent going into this season coming off a state title. But we had a great bunch of seniors,” Dunfee said. “Leadership was the key going into the season. This group came in hungrier.

“Last year was over, we didn’t talk about it. It was fun to watch this team grow. We faced a challenging schedule. We beat Springboro in a Chattanooga tourney. They made it to the Ohio state tournament. Then we beat a team from Illinois in the tournament finals,” he added. “We didn’t really encounter any speed bumps and had no injuries. It was just a long grind.” In Georgia, the prep post-season has two teams playing the best two-of-three series. Gordon Lee faced off against Schley County in the state championship.

The Trojans won the opener, 2-0, before Schley evened the series with a 3-2 verdict.

“We had a good practice the day after we lost. I told them God has a plan and just releax and enjoy the road,” Dunfee said. “We were too jacked up in the second game. Our game plan in the third game was to take one pitch to relax. It worked out well.”

Gordon Lee rolled to a 9-3 title game triumph.

“We have good community support and great kids. This one was every bit as fun as the first one. I am proud of this group because they worked hard and remained hungry,” Dunfee said when asked how this title ranked with the first. “These titles are also a result of all the kids who played here before them. The set a solid foundation. I loved every minute of this season. I hated to see it end.”

And what are the chances of a three-peat?

“We are losing five players but most of our pitching is returning,” Dunfee said. “We will have high expectations for next year. It just depends on who will fill the roles. I can’t wait until we start up again in January.”

Unlike the Ohio Valley, Georgia prep baseball season has a much longer lifespan. High schools begin playing real games around Valentine’s Day all the way through late May.

After graduating Bellaire, Dunfee played collegiately at Carson-Newman in Tennessee. He launched his prep coaching career in the Volunteer State as an assistant for five years before landing the head coaching job at LaFayette High in Georgia. His success there led him to Gordon Lee.

“I will probably be a lifer here. I always wanted to go South and play ball,” Dunfee said. “I really like it here. It is a great place to raise a family.”

That family consists of wife, Stacey, and two children: Abbey, a sophomore, and Nate, an eighth grader.

Dunfee is a math teacher at Gordon Lee.

GOODWIN GIVING BACK

FORMER LINSLY standout athlete C.J. Goodwin is giving back. The current Dallas Cowboys defensive back is staging a FREE sports and speed camp on Saturday, June 29 at the East Wheeling Sports Complex.

The camp encompasses football, basketabll, cheerleading, speed and agility. It is open to boys and girls ages 7-17. It runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. with late registration beginning at 9:30 a.m.

A block party will be staged in conjunction with the camp from 2:30 to 5 p.m. It is open to the public and will feature a meet & greet with NFL athletes. A DJ, food and inflatables will also be featured.

Register online for the camp at: Pegafoundation.org

BUBBA’S BITS

IT WAS refreshing to see the NCAA display some unusual common sense by reinstating Philip Bledsoe’s hoop eligibility at Glenville State. The former Wheeling Park all-stater tested the NBA Draft waters before pulling his name from consideration. The NCAA temporarily ruled him ineligible for a return to college play on a stupid technicality.

BLAKE RING-FISH of Rayland recorded a hole-in-one on Hole No. 14 at Bec-Wood Hills Golf Course on June 3. He used a 9-iron to ace the 145-yard par 3. Emily Holzopfel of Rayland and Mike Martino of Martins Ferry witnessed the ace.

RIDGEWOOD FINISHED as state runnerup in the OHSAA Division III state tournament, falling to Coldwater, 1-0. The Generals starting leftfielder was Gabe Tingle. The talented frosh, who also quarterbacked Ridgewood into the football playoffs, hit nearly.350 this spring. Tingle’s mother, Jana (Isaly), was a former hoop star for the River Pilots.

RYAN DAY is doing all the right things as Ohio State’s new football coach. He went 3-0 subbing for Urban Meyer, he is recruiting at Urban-like levels and now has shown his philanthropic side. Day donated $100,000 to create a fund for Pediatric and Adolescent Mental Wellness at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus. His dad committed suicide when Ryan was only age 9.

D.J. BYRD has been named the new head football coach at Hundred High. He comes to the Hornets from Clarksburg Notre Dame where he was assistant football coach and head softball coach.

INDIAN CREEK graduate Jordan Herald has landed a post with the West Virginia University football program. Herald has been named director of creative design. He previously served as graphic design/social media assistant at Miami of Ohio.

BELLAIRE HIGH running legend Charlie Ward recorded his first career hole-in-one last week at NCR Country Club in Kettering, Ohio. He used a 7-iron to ace the 154-yard par 3 No. 3 hole. John Marsh of Canton, Greg Dye of Huntington and Mike Restivo of Detroit witnessed Ward’s ace.

TO ALL the dads out there, Happy Fathers Day!

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