Final Class AAAA news and notes

Posted 4/22/16

In Region 1-AAAA, Thomas County Central capped the greatest season in school history by beating arch-rival Cairo 3-2 Friday night. It gave the Jackets a final record of 23-3.
The two schools are located less than 15 miles near the Georgia-Florida border. TCC had clinched the region title and Cairo had earned the No. 2 seed. But it still made for an electric atmosphere.
"It didn't mean anything (as far as region play), but it meant everything," Thomas County Central coach Chad Parkerson said. "It's was an intense playoff atmosphere with two rivals. Both teams made plays, they had big hits and they had big strikeouts."
TCC's Eli Taylor earned the victory in relief, while Hayes Roach led the offense by going 3 for 4 with a pair of RBIs. Taylor and Keyton Smith also added two hits each.
Drew Leverette and Harley Ponder led the Syrupmakers with two hits each.
Bainbridge beat Cook to earn the the No. 3 seed. Cook and Crisp County finished tied for the fourth and final postseason spot before Crisp won the tie-breaker.

In Region 4-AAAA, Locust Grove continues to be the surprise of Class AAAA. The Wildcats began the season ranked 10th but finished the regular-season with a 23-1-1 record. Locust Grove's only loss was a 3-2 setback to LaGrange in early February. They rattled off 18 straight victories before tying Union Grove 4-4 on April 15 in a nonregion game at Turner Field.
Last week, the Wildcats swept Spalding to capture the Region 4-AAAA title.
"This team has bought into the concept that this is not an individial thing, it's a team thing," Locust Grove coach Stephen Phillips said. "The hardest thing as a head coach is to get 17 different personalities to come together and believe in the same things. And they've done that. I've never seen 17 guys come together like these have."
Ethan Lindow pitched the Wildcats past Spalding 12-6 on Thursday, while Nolan Crisp went 3 for 4 at the plate with a pair of RBIs to lead the offense.
Then Christian Young and Crisp combined on a seven-hit shutout to defeat Spalding 6-0 on Thursday. Outfielder Joah Curry went 3 for 3 and made a SportsCenter-type highlight catch.
Lindow and left-hander Young (4-0, 0.29 ERA) have led the pitching staff, while infielder Odlanier Rodriguez (.407 avg.), shortstop Colton Bailey, second-baseman Trevor Sellers (.436) and Curry have been the leaders on offense.
Spalding finished as the No. 2 seed under first-year coach Sal Argila, while Eastside swept a pair of games in the region tournament from Pike County to finish as the No. 3 seed.
Griffin defeated Walnut Grove 8-7 for the No. 4 seed on Saturday, scoring the go-ahead run in the seventh on an error. The two teams split a doubleheader on Thursday. Kody Fulgum went 2 for 4 at the plate to lead the offense for the Bears.

In Region 2-AAAA, West Laurens captured the region crown by beating Mary Persons 11-1, then the Raiders shut out Upson-Lee 3-0 on Thursday. The Raiders are the top seed, while Upson-Lee is the fourth seed.
The chase for the second and third seeds came down between Houston County rivals Veterans and Perry on Thursday. Veterans won 6-1 to claim the No. 2 seed behind Andrew Ellison's complete-game victory. He allowed just one run on five hits to outduel Perry pitcher Cal Gentry.
Gabe Holt and Logan Arnett each went 2 for 3 to lead the offense. Holt had a triple and a pair of RBIs. Perry finished as the No. 3 seed.

In Region 3-AAAA, Thomson captured the region crown two weeks ago with a pair of victories over Burke County. The Bulldogs, under interim coach Brad Smith, are 18-7. Morgan Hyde and Cody Brown have led Thomson on the mound. Hyde went a combined 6 for 7 at the plate with three doubles, a triple and an RBI in the sweep of Burke County.
Wayne County (19-5) earned the region's No. 2 seed, Burke County is the third seed and Liberty County is the fourth seed.

In Region 5-AAAA, Troup rolled to its first region crown since 1995 then they finished off a sweep of defending state runner-up Whitewater to finish with  21-5 record.
But the most-watched race this week in Region 5 came in the chase for the second and third seeds. Woodward Academy, after losing to Carrollton on Tuesday, rallied back to beat the Trojans on Thursday 6-1, then earned the second seed with a 3-1 victory on Friday. Cade Sutherland, Nate Stinson and Ethan Cornelius each went 2 for 3 to lead the offense.
One of the more intriguing matchups in the first round involves Whitewater, who finished as the Region 5 fourth seed, traveling to meet Region 8 champion Buford. It is a rematch of the Class AAAA state title from last season that Buford won in two games.

In Region 6-AAAA, Marist claimed the region crown with a week that included victories over Lithonia, Grady and a pair of wins over Arabia Mountain in four consecutive days. Then the War Eagles finished the regular-season with a 10-inning loss to Class 5A power Loganville on Saturday.
St. Pius X swept a pair of games from Redan to finish as the second seed. The Lions won 6-3 on Saturday behind pitchers Garrett Gooden, Preston Jenkins and Andrew Robertson, who combined to allow Redan just three runs on four hits. Gooden earned the victory and also added a pair of RBIs. Andrew Rochefort went 2 for 3.
Redan finished as the No. 3 seed while Chamblee was the fourth seed.

In Region 7-AAAA, Heritage-Catoosa stunned Cartersville with a three-run seventh inning to upend the Hurricanes 5-4 earlier last week. Heritage then defeated Northwest Whitfield to capture the region title.
Against Cartersville, Dylan Bice earned the victory in relief of starter Cole Wilcox. Noah Hill went 3 for 4 at the plate with a homer and four RBIs to lead the offense.
Cartersville earned the No. 2 seed, while Pickens earned the third seed after defeating Ridgeland 12-5 last Tuesday night behind pitcher Travis Huffman and an offense that exploded for 14 hits. Ridgeland finished as the third seed.

In Region 8-AAAA, there wasn't a surprise as Buford claimed the title, but the final three seeds were settled earlier in the week. After North Oconee defeated North Hall 4-3 in 10 innings on Monday, the Trojans came back to win 12-3 on Wednesday to earn the No. 2 seed. North Hall's Corban Meeler hurled a complete-game to earn the victory while Drew Atha, Fowler Brooks, Jake Chester and Clark Hill led the offense with two hits each.
Madison County was idle last week and is the No. 4 seed.