Home / State baseball playoffs start tomorrow
State baseball playoffs start tomorrow
Barring bad weather, the state baseball playoffs start tomorrow for five local teams.
AAAAA baseball playoffs
Newnan Cougars (19-7) vs. Tift County Blue Devils (12-14), Friday, 4:30 p.m.
Newnan started the 2012 campaign by winning nine of their first 10 games. Until the final week of the regular season, all of Newnan’s losses after that hot start were by two runs or less. The Cougars enter the playoffs losing two of their last three games (12-2 to region champion Luella and 18-4 to Northside, Columbus). Newnan is averaging a full run more per game (5.7-4.7) than Tift County but the two teams are neck in neck in average runs allowed per game (4.3 for Newnan, 4.2. for Tift County).
The Blue Devils haven’t had much prolonged success this season. They had four two game winning streaks but they were always followed by losing streaks of two games or more. They did close out the season with a 17-6 win over Coffee to snap a two game losing streak. It was the first time all season that Tift County had scored in the double digits.
The winner of this series meets the winner of top ranked Parkview and Collins Hill next Wednesday.
East Coweta Indians (14-11) @ Lowndes Vikings (15-11), 5 p.m.
East Coweta strung together some short winning streaks but had a hard time developing momentum with tough region and non-region schedules. The Indians enter the playoffs having lost three of their last four, but the losses were close. In fact, five of the 11 losses were by two runs or less. East Coweta is averaging one more run per game than the Vikings (6.9-5.9) but allowing close to the same (4.8 to 4.5). Forgetting some of their struggles may be just what the doctor ordered for East Coweta. It’s a new season and every team is basically 0-0.
Lowndes got off to a bad start this season, 1-4 in their first five games, and closed out the season strong, going 5-1 over their final six games. In that stretch, the Vikings scored in double digits in four of those games. They lost the regular season finale to Colquitt County 7-5. One trend that sticks out is when Lowndes lost, they didn’t score much at all. In fact, they only scored more than two runs twice in their 11 losses. This suggests that solid pitching can keep them in check and slow down what can be a very potent offense.
The winner of this series meets the winner of Shiloh and fifth ranked Mill Creek next Wednesday.
Whitewater Wildcats (19-6) vs Jonesboro Cardinals (21-5), 4 p.m. Friday
Whitewater, ranked ninth in AAAA, made the AAAA state final last year and lost to Marist. Undoubtedly, that loss sticks in their craw and serves as motivation for this season. The Wildcats put together two six game winning streaks this season against teams from a very competitive region and only lost consecutive games once. They’ve won games in dominating fashion, like last week’s region playoff win against Alcovy (12-2) and have also shown an ability to win games late (3-2 in nine innings against Ola on Apr. 20). They have strong pitching from Daniel Amos and Evan Gresham and a steady batting order led by Alex Liquori, John Mark Rhodes, Gresham and more.
Jonesboro is extremely solid as well. They have winning streaks of five, six and eight games this season and 15 wins in which they scored in the double digits. Junior pitcher Brandon Jackson has eight wins this season including a no-hitter against Riverdale on Apr. 23. The Cardinals enter the playoffs on a two game winning streak that started after a 5-0 loss to Mundy’s Mill. That loss was the second time they had been shutout this season and the first time since Feb. 25.
The winner of this series meets the winner of seventh ranked Alexander and Chamblee next Wednesday.
Northgate Vikings (14-12) @ Lovejoy Wildcats (21-5), Friday, 4:30 p.m.
When the Vikings had their backs against the wall and absolutely had to win this season, they did. Facing the possibility of not making the region playoffs and not having a chance to make state, they beat a surging McIntosh team 1-0 for the fourth seed in the sub-region. In a decisive game three against Union Grove last week in the region 3-AAAA playoffs, the Vikings won 14-7, sending the other sub-region’s top seed home. This may not be Northgate’s strongest team, but they fear nobody and will take their chances until the final out is recorded. Perhaps the biggest trend to look at for Northgate is the fact that since March 30, a span where Northgate went 7-5, they haven’t given up a ton of runs. In fact, by allowing an average of just over three runs a game in that span Northgate has kept themselves in games against some very tough competition.
Lovejoy, ranked 10th in AAAA, put together a 14 game winning streak near the start of their season (after starting 0-2) and has gone 7-3 over their final 10 games. The Wildcats have some pitching, including sophomore Danyale Brimer and senior Xavier Anthony, both of whom recorded no-hitters this season. Senior Brandon Chisholm and junior Andrew Nicholson have also pitched well for the Wildcats. They can also score, putting up double digits in runs 12 times this season and being held to under four runs only twice.
The winner of this series meets the winner of Dunwoody and eighth ranked Pope next Wednesday.
Landmark Christian War Eagles (19-6) vs. Providence Christian Stars (17-9)
Landmark Christian, currently ranked ninth in Class A, put together an eight game winning streak starting March 26 that was only broken up by a loss to eventual region champions, eighth ranked Eagle’s Landing Christian Academy (4-1). They responded by beating New Manchester the following day 21-0. The only time Landmark lost consecutive games this year was the first two games of the season playing in Florida. Three of their remaining four losses were to teams outside of Class A. Senior Jake Hankins has picked up a number of wins on the mound for Landmark this season. He is one of three seniors on this year’s roster so while the War Eagles are hoping to go deep and contend for a state title, they’ll be back next season with seven seniors and six juniors that know what it takes to win.
Providence Christian enters the Class A state playoffs with some momentum. They have won five games in a row and won all of them by double digit margins, outscoring their opponents 71-9 in that span. They scored in the double digits in 11 of their 26 games, so they can put up some runs and really challenge teams.
The winner of this series meets the winner of Lincoln County and 10th ranked Gordon Lee next Wednesday.