Georgia high school baseball playoff berths will be decided this week — weather permitting, that is.
Several teams have clinched postseason bids, but much is still to be decided in the regular season's final few days.
Region 7-AAAA will have its three best-of-three playoff series beginning today for four of the six teams involved. Forecast rain already has set the championship series between Cass and Northwest Whitfield back to a Thursday doubleheader start.
"Looking at the forecast, we didn't want Cass to have to drive up here and then turn around and go home, so we've moved it to Thursday," Northwest coach Todd Middleton said. "They're a good team with a solid No. 1 pitcher in Dylan Williams. We're familiar with them since we were in the same region the last two years, and we know it will take a good effort to beat them."
Middleton's Bruins (19-4) and the Colonels (15-8) will decide the first and second seeds, while Heritage and Dalton will have to win their way in. Heritage (13-10) will host Cedartown (14-8) in a 5 p.m. doubleheader start today, while the Catamounts (11-12) are set to play at River Ridge (7-14) in Woodstock, also at 5.
Heritage would claim the third seed with a series win, while Dalton would be the No. 4 seed. Both teams have unique challenges ahead.
"We've seen Cedartown the last two years, and they have two really good hitters in [Blake] Oxenrider and [Jimmy] Hand," Heritage coach Eric Beagles said. "So we've got to keep the guys in front of them off the bases."
Dalton coach Shane Ramsey wants his team to ignore River Ridge's record and focus on waking up the bats.
"We've talked about their record, and the first thing we told our guys is that River Ridge has played a brutal nonregion schedule," Ramsey said. "They are well coached and they have a good left-handed pitcher (Jackson Weeg) who has won five of their seven games. The key for us is to get guys in when we get them in scoring position. We've tailed off in recent games."
Rain again threatens today's much-anticipated rematch between Region 6-A powers Darlington and Gordon Lee, but Trojans coach Mike Dunfee is hoping to get it in. The winner will be the subregion champion and will get to host Mount Paran for the region title Friday.
"It seems like someone doesn't want us to play," joked Dunfee, who has worked extensively on the team's low-lying field in Chickamauga. "We really wanted to get it in last week so that both teams will have full pitching available Friday, but we'll just have to make the best of it. It will be tough to beat both Darlington and Mount Paran in the same week, but I think this team is capable.
Dunfee believes the region winner will be the top overall seed on its respective public or private side.
7-AA almost decided
Pepperell (20-2, 12-0) has locked up the Region 7-AA title, but the second and third seeds will go down to the last day.
Calhoun (17-6, 11-2) is in second place after winning Tuesday at Model, but the Yellow Jackets must either defeat Pepperell on Thursday or hope Coosa (15-7, 10-3) loses against Murray County. Should Calhoun and Coosa tie with 11-3 records, the Eagles hold the tiebreaker, which in this case is least runs allowed in the teams' two meetings.
Coaches are reminded to send in their Best of Preps all-star nominations by the end of the week for their players to be considered for one of our three teams. Please email to firstname.lastname@example.org and include statistics for your players.
Lindsey Young is a sports writer at the Chattanooga Times Free Press who started work at the Chattanooga News-Free Press 24 years ago. He covers the Northwest Georgia prep beat and NASCAR. Lindsey’s hometown is Ringgold, Ga., and he graduated from Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe High School. He received an associate’s degree from Dalton Junior College (now Dalton State) and a bachelor’s degree in communications from UTC. He has won several writing awards, including two Tennessee Sports ...