Final Class AAAAAA news and notes

Posted 4/23/16

One of the more intriguing matchups of the postseason will feature McEachern High School visiting Lee County in the first round of the Class AAAAAA playoffs. The Trojans are 20-6 and they rolled to the Region 1-AAAAAA title.

The Indians feature right-handed pitcher Alex Speas and his upper 90 miles-per-hour fastball. The Under Armour All-American throws consistently in the mid 90s and has been clocked as high as 97.
Speas should be a high draft pick in the June Major League Baseball Amateur Draft. Lee County features a pair of junior prospects who also should get some recognition -- third baseman pitcher Tyler Simon and first baseman/pitcher Josh Hatcher.
Lee County may have won the Region 1-AAAAAA title but Georgia Tech signee and Tift County standout Connor Thomas showed Tuesday night why he has been the region's top pitcher during the past two seasons. Thomas allowed just five hits and struck out seven as Tift County blanked the Trojans 5-0.
Valdosta is the No. 2 seed and will play host to North Paulding. Tift County is the third seed and Colquitt County is No. 4.

In Region 2-AAAAAA, Rockdale County won four of its final five region games, including a sweep of Newton last week, to win the region title. The Bulldogs defeated Newton 12-3 Thursday night to capture the region crown behind a complete-game victory from Jeff Sweat. Taylor WIlkinson went 3 for 5 with an RBI, while Jordan Davis went 3 for 3 to lead the offense. Cedric Clark had two doubles.
Lakeside-Dekalb finished with the same region record as Rockdale County, but the Bulldogs won the tie-breaker after sweeping Lakeside in the team's three regular-season meetings. Tucker finished as the No. 3 seed, while Newton finished as the fourth seed.

In Region 3-AAAAAA, East Coweta claimed the top seed and finished as the region champion. The Indians ended the season with a pair of victories over Westlake, including a 7-3 victory on Tuesday behind star pitcher Thomas Leone who struck out seven in 5 1/3 innings to earn the victory. Jaquez Williams drove in a pair of runs and Dillon Roller went 2 for 4 to lead the offense.
Newnan finished as the No. 2 seed, while Westlake finished as the No. 3 seed.
South Cobb defeated Campbell 7-1 on Thursday behind Devin Lucas' no-hitter to claim the No. 4 seed. Lucas struck out 13 and got all the offense he needed from Malik Bell (2 for 3) and Jamaal Combest, who went 2 for 2 with a pair of RBIs.

In Region 4-AAAAAA, Hillgrove captured the region title and will play host to Colquitt County in its first round series. Harrison and North Paulding split a pair of games last week. Harrison took a 7-0 victory as Ryan Parker and Matthew Bollenbacher combined on a complete-game shutout.
But North Paulding took a 2-1 victory Wednesday night, scoring a run in the seventh inning on a wild pitch. The two teams finished in a tie in the region standings, but Harrison owned the tie-breaker and finished as the third seed. McEachern is the fourth seed.

In Region 5-AAAAAA, Pope won the region crown, while top-ranked Walton finished as the No. 2 seed. But the hottest team in the region is Etowah, who has won 10 straight and faces defending state champion Parkview in the first round. It will be a rematch between the two who met in the 2015 state quarterfinals in which Parkview swept Etowah.
Longtime state power Lassiter returns to the state playoffs as the No. 4 seed.

In Region 6-AAAAAA, Rick Howard's first season as coach at Lambert helped the Longhorns back to the top of the region standings.
But keep an eye on North Forsyth, who won three straight games, including a sweep of county rival West Forsyth, to finish as the second seed. The Raiders won 6-0 on Wednesday night behind a complete-game shutout from JB Finnemore, while Bailey Gerstner went 3 for 4 to lead the offense.
Then in the 7-3 victory on Thursday, Andrew Grogan hurled a complete-game victory, while Cory Campbell went 2 for 3 with a homer and two RBIs. Kyle Martin also went 2 for 3 with a pair of RBIs as well as Gavin Schubiger.
West Forsyth finished as the No. 3 seed, while Northview earned the fourth seed.

In Region 7-AAAAAA, no team finished hotter than North Gwinnett, who won five in a row to capture the No. 3 seed. The Bulldogs defeated Collins Hill and Mountain View last week.
Norcross, under coach Regiie Stancil, won the region title after beating Meadowcreek 21-2 last Wednesday. Collins Hill finished as the second seed, while Mountain View finished as the fourth seed.

In Region 8-AAAAAA, Brookwood beat Shiloh 14-2 Friday night to capture the region title in coach Titus Martin's first year. Martin, an assistant last season, took over when Howard took the head position at Lambert. Brookwood snapped Parkview's six-year reign as Region 8 champions. Michael Rodriguez earned the victory on the mound, while Will Banfield went 4 for 4 with a homer and three RBIs.
Spencer Lewis went 3 for 4 with a homer and three RBIs.
It was bittersweet for the Broncos, who at one point was 4-7 before finishing the regular-season at 18-8. Banfield (.414 avg., 28 RBIs) has been a standout at catcher and he is 5 for 5 in save opportunities.
Junior right-hander Austin Hohm has three victories and four saves and boasts a 1.58 ERA. But a key reason for Brookwood's run has been the improvement of players like first baseman Davis Tovey (.395 avg., 17 RBIs) and Lewis (.377 avg., 2 HR, 21 RBIs), who both raised their averages by 100 points from last season.
"We just kept trying to get them to believe," Martin said. "I kept think that we were going to get this. These guys worked and got after it. I can't say enough good things about them."
Parkview finished as the No. 2 seed, while Archer was No. 3 and Grayson No. 4.