12 intriguing first-round matchups (all classes)

Posted 4/22/19

Updated 4/22/19 at 8:50 with Class 1A matchups

Allen Grier and Riverwood will meet Rome in a Class 5A first round best-of-three series beginning Wednesday.


12 Intriguing First Round Playoff Series


Class 7A

Mountain View at Brookwood

HOW THEY GOT HERE: Mountain View finished as the third seed from Region 6. Brookwood finished as the second seed from Region 7.

WHY THIS SERIES IS INTERESTING: Mountain View was ranked sixth in the preseason, Brookwood 10th. Both have strong No. 1 pitchers in Mountain View's Gavin Collyer and Brookwood's Alex Flood. Mountain View ended up losing two of its final three to Collins Hill to fall into the region's No. 3 slot. Brookwood, meanwhile, lost its final two regular-season games to top-ranked Parkview. This will be a good baseball series that should be reserved for later in the postseason.


Collins Hill at Walton

HOW THEY GOT HERE: Collins Hill finished fifth in Region 6 but was awarded the Class 7A at large bid according to power rankings. Walton was the Region 4 champion.

WHY THIS SERIES IS INTERESTING: Imagine fighting your way through the rugged Region 4, winning the title in a region that consists of Woodstock, Lassiter, Etowah, Roswell and Cherokee, then finding out your opponent is one of the hottest teams in Class 7A. That is what Walton will face when it entertains Collins Hill in the best-of-three first round series.Collins Hill ended the season by winning six of seven and taking two of three from Mountain View in a three-game set in Region 6 play. While Collins Hill boasts one of the nation's top prospects in Nasim Nunez, Walton has the hitting and the pitching to go a long way, But this series could be much tougher than many think,


Class 6A

River Ridge at Cambridge

HOW THEY GOT HERE: River Ridge finished as the third seed from Region 6. Cambridge finished as the second seed from Region 7.

WHY THIS SERIES IS INTERESTING: River Ridge was ranked third in the preseason but started the season with seven straight losses to some of the state's top teams. They rebounded and won 11 of their final 14 to make the postseason. Cambridge held the lead in the Region 7 standings until a 7-2 loss in the regular-season finale to Pope cost them the region crown. Both of these teams have played brutal nonregion schedules, which should have them well-prepared for the postseason.


Class 5A

East Paulding at Riverwood

HOW THEY GOT HERE: East Paulding finished as the third seed from Region 7. Riverwood finished as the second seed from Region 6.

WHY THIS SERIES IS INTERESTING: Both of these teams could have easily won their respective regions. This could be as good of a series as any in the . It could get really interesting if East Paulding coach Tony Boyd throws Jackson Phipps, one of the top pitchers in the Class of 2020 against Riverwood's Brett Thomas, who has signed with South Carolina. Riverwood has been ranked most of the season and rose into the Top 5 before two losses to Decatur at the end of the season denied them the region title.


Rome at Decatur

HOW THEY GOT HERE: Rome finished as the fourth seed from Region 7. Decatur finished as the Region 6 champion.

WHY THIS SERIES IS INTERESTING: In what was supposed to be a rebuilding year for Decatur, the Bulldogs breezed through Region 6 with an unbeaten record and finished at 23-6. Behind shortstop Jordan Walker and pitchers Jaylen Paden and Eddie Galatas, Decatur will be tough in the playoffs. But don't discount Rome. The Wolves slipped to fourth spot in the region during the last week of the regular season. They split games with East Paulding and Kell in region play and are playing as good as anybody.


Class 4A

Denmark at Northwest Whitfield

HOW THEY GOT HERE: Denmark finished as the fourth seed from Region 7. Northwest Whitfield finished as the Region 6 champion.

WHY THIS SERIES IS INTERESTING: In their first season, Denmark has made the state playoffs and they've proven they can play with anybody. They defeated region rival Flowery Branch once and lost a pair of one-run games to Blessed Trinity in region play. Northwest Whitfield may still be a year away from reaching their full potential, but the Bruins are pretty good this year. Denmark might want to pitch around junior Hank Bearden, who has been on an offensive tear this season.


Class 3A

Westminster at Jefferson

HOW THEY GOT HERE: Westminster finished as the fourth seed from Region 5. Jefferson finished as the Region 8 champion.

WHY THIS SERIES IS INTERESTING: Jefferson was the preseason No. 1, while Westminster was No. 2. This series is more fitting for the later rounds. While Westminster has struggled recently in region play, the Wildcats have the talent to be very dangerous. Jefferson, meanwhile, has lived up to the preseason hype. They've only lost once, and they recently swept Morgan County in a three-game set to take the Region 8 title. Morgan County is no slouch either. 


Redan at Morgan County

HOW THEY GOT HERE: Redan finished as the third seed from Region 5. Morgan County finished as the second seed from Region 8

WHY THIS SERIES IS INTERESTING: Both teams rose as high as No. 2 in the Class 3A polls this season. Redan finished strong by sweeping a pair of games from Westminster in region play. The Raiders field a team full of talented players. This is perhaps Morgan County's best chance at a state championship after the Bulldogs lost in the semifinals last year. Look for the winner in this series to keep playing a while longer in the postseason.


Class 2A

Union County at Bremen

HOW THEY GOT HERE: Union County finished as the fourth seed from Region 8. Bremen won the Region 5 title.

WHY THIS SERIES IS INTERESTING: Both teams dropped from Class 3A before the season. Bremen may be a little rusty as the Blue Devils haven't played since April 12. Top-ranked Bremen rolled through Region 5 and have shown they are the team to beat in Class 2A. Union County won 13 of its last 15, including a pair of wins over Elbert County last month. Union County is a young team who could surprise many.


Banks County at Callaway

HOW THEY GOT HERE: Banks County finished as the third seed from Region 8. Callaway finished as the second seed from Region 5.

WHY THIS SERIES IS INTERESTING: Banks County entered the final day of the regular-season atop the Region 8 standings, but two losses to Elbert County sent the Leopards to the No. 3 seed. Banks is a young team who is hungry to prove they can play with the elite in Class 2A. Callaway was the preseason No. 2 and injuries have hurt them this season. The Cavaliers are still strong, but they will have their hands full against Banks County.



Class 1A Public

Charlton County at Bowdon

HOW THEY GOT HERE: Charlton is seeded 19th, while Bowdon is 14th.

WHY THIS SERIES IS INTERESTING: Charlton County, who has won two state titles since the GHSA split Class 1A into public and private divisions in 2013, went to the quarterfinals last year while Bowdon was a semifinalist. Both entered the preseason with lofty rankings. Bowdon, before dropping three in a row in the Region 6-1A Tournament at the end of the season, had won nine of 12 after starting the season 1-8. Charlton lost four games in Region 2-1A play, two of them by a run. This series could easily go three games.


Class 1A Private

Holy Innocents' at Strong Rock Christian

HOW THEY GOT HERE: Holy Innocents' is seeded 24th, while Strong Rock Christian is seeded ninth.

WHY THIS SERIES IS INTERESTING: The two teams compete in Region 5 and in their only meeting this season, Strong Rock Christian took a 2-1 victory on March 22. But since that loss, Holy Innocents' has won 10 of its last 12 games. It will be hard to imagine either of these teams sweeping the other. Both feature quality pitching. Strong Rock finished second in the region, just a game ahead of Holy Innocents'.