Dusty Ellyson never had any doubt. Notre Dame on the other hand, never had a chance.
Ellyson and the rest of his Gilmer County teammates made quick work of the Irish (24-8), pounding out 12 hits en route to a 10-0 five-inning game to win the Class A, Region 2, Section 1 baseball tournament.
"We all knew we would come out here fired up," Ellyson said. "Last night I couldn't sleep. We even got here 20 minutes early and we just paced in the dugout.
"We wanted this one bad. We wanted it bad for coach."
Coach of course is head coach David Jaffre, who passed away just five days ago on the same field where the Titans would win the sectional crown.
"We're not going to let this get us down," Ellyson said. "We're using it as motivation. We're playing ball the way coach taught us to."
Ellyson went 2-for-2 with a pair of doubles and three RBIs. Eight of the nine Gilmer County starters had at least one hit. Consective RBIs from Patrick Morrison and Jhonathan Schloeter gave Gilmer County (29-2) a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first. From there, pitcher Jeremiah Phares did the rest.
Phares gave up one hit, struck out five and walked one.
"I pitched this one for coach Jaffre," Phares said. "I owe him everything. He did so much for me and the rest of these guys, and I never had a chance to thank him for it. By no means are we going to stop here, though. No one on this team is done."
Gilmer County will play Tygarts Valley at 6:30 p.m. Monday at Frank Loria Memorial Field.
Gilmer County "just absolutely smacked the ball," Notre Dame coach Mark Starkey said. "They hit everything we threw at them. Even the outs they made were hit hard. They're playing with a lot of emotion, and did what they had to do to win the game."
Gilmer County began the second inning with four consecutive single and took a 5-0 lead.
Jeremy Wright led off the third inning with a double down the left field line, but was thrown out trying to stretch the hit into a triple.
Ellyson's two-out double off the fence in left center highlighted a three-run fourth.
Gilmer County ended the game in the fifth when Jacob Dennison struck out but broke for first base on a passed ball. The throw was in time, but it allowed Dan Page to score from third. An attempt from home to third sailed over Jake Minges' head and scored Lance Woodford to end the game.
Sports writer Mike Nutter can be reached at 626-1444.