Postseason baseball berths are being sewn up in northwest Georgia, but even though some teams have already secured their playoff appearance it doesn't mean the next week isn't crucial. In fact, a crucial win or loss in the last few regular season games can mean the difference between favorable or unwanted seeding.
"Now it's all about getting as good a seeding as you can get and making sure you get the best matchups for your team," said Ringgold coach Brent Tucker, whose Tigers have clinched a spot from Region 5-AAA but still need a win to clinch the No. 2 seed after falling to Cartersville on Wednesday. "It's huge the difference one [seeding] spot can mean."
For example, 5-AAA teams are matching up against a deep and talented Region 7. Enter as the top seed and host either White County or North Hall. Drop to the third or fourth seed and travel to either battle-tested North Hall or 18-1 Buford. The 5-AAA champ also would host at least the first three rounds.
The case is similar in 7-AA, where one game will likely decide who is No. 1 and who gets the No. 4 spot. Entering play Thursday four teams -- Calhoun, Pepperell, Coosa and Model -- are tied for first place with three losses each. The champion will likely host Jordan, which is 10-8 overall, from Region 5, while the fourth seed will have to travel to 21-0 Bremen.
Bruins wrap up 7B-AAAA
Northwest Whitfield has successfully defended its subregion title and now awaits its opponent in the region championship series next week. River Ridge has the lead at 7-3 in the A subregion but has lost two straight and is just 11-9 overall.
Like with the other two regions, the champion in 7-AAAA will have a favorable postseason schedule, likely hosting Region 5-AAAA No. 4 seed Troup County (10-9), while perennial power Columbus (17-3) is in the driver's seat to win that region. Much is also on the line between Dalton and Heritage, which began their three-game series Wednesday. The winner of the series will finish as the second seed from 7B-AAAA and will host either Cass or Pickens County in the region play-in series next week.
Broom, Trojans eye strong finish
No team in northwest Georgia has as much to gain over the next week than Gordon Lee. The Trojans (15-6, 9-4 in 6A-A), with a boost from Monday's 10-inning 1-0 win at Calhoun, have put themselves in position for a top seeding in the upcoming Class A public-school playoffs.
However, an overall top seed is possible if they can first defeat Darlington tonight at Gordon Lee -- a win that would clinch the subregion title -- then follow that up with a region championship win over Mt. Paran next Friday. Trojans' ace Conard Broom, fresh off his three-hit, 13-strikeout effort over Calhoun, believes his team can finish the deal.
"We know the game against Darlington will either put us in or out of the region championship game," he said. "If we win that one we can get the top seed and one thing we may have going for us against Mt. Paran is that I've never pitched against them. I would look forward to that challenge."
Gordon Lee currently sits fourth in the power rankings on the public side, just behind defending state champion Charlton County, but a top seeding can only be earned with a region title. If they do not win the region it's likely the Trojans will be no better than a sixth or seventh seed and would likely be on the road for the final three playoff rounds.
Contact Lindsey Young at email@example.com or at 423-757-6296.
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 ...