Quarterfinal round notebook
St. Pius X second baseman Evan Sitzmann spears a line drive against Wayne County Monday in Jesup in the Class 5A quarterfinals.
Quarterfinal round lookback
A look back at the best from the GHSA quarterfinal baseball playoff round
BEST SERIES: Lambert at Lowndes - After rain was the clear winner on Tuesday, the two teams split the first two games on Wednesday to force a decisive Game 3 on Thursday. After Lambert got a double play to escape a bases-loaded jam in the bottom of the seventh and force extra innings, Lowndes loaded the bases in the bottom of the eighth, Austin Hancock's walk-off single scored Sam Bennett for the game-winning run, sending Lowndes to the state semifinals for the first time since 2006.
MOST SURPRISING SERIES: Denmark at Parkview: The Panthers appears to be picking up steam in the playoffs and have won 14 straight, including sweeps of Colquitt County, East Coweta and Denmark in the playoffs. Parkview hasn't lost since April 8. Ryan Spikes' grand slam in Game 1 against Denmark keyed the Panthers to a 4-2 win, then they took Game 2, 7-5, and rolled into the semifinals for the fourth straight year.
MOST INTENSE SERIES: Woodstock at North Paulding: This series felt like a state championship series as these two heighweights slugged it out before North Paulding eliminated the Wolverines in three games. Woodstock, playing as the home team, scored four runs in the bottom of the seventh inning of Game 3 to tie the game at 4, then North Paulding took a one-run lead in the top of the eighth. Woodstock threatened in its half of the eighth, but North Paulding used a 6-4-3 double play to end the threat and Woodstock's season with a 5-4 victory. This is North Paulding deepest postseason run in its brief history.
SEMIFINAL MATCHUPS: Forsyth Central at North Paulding; Lowndes at Parkview
BEST SERIES: Pope at South Effingham - A week after Pope upended the nation's top-ranked team in Buford, the Greyhounds fought for their lives in Guyton against upset-minded South Effingham who gave Pope all they could handle. The Mustangs took the first game, then Pope took the second game to force a deciding Game 3 Tuesday night. After rain forced the postponement of Game 3 to Thursday, Pope pitchers Dawson Campbell and Carson Kerce combined to allow South Effingham just a run on three hits in a 6-1 victory. The Greyhounds are in the state semifinals for the sixth straight year.
MOST SURPRISING SERIES: East Paulding at Houston County: East Paulding was on a roll, sweeping Lanier and toppling Region 7 champion River Ridge in the postseason before playing at Houston County in the quarterfinals. Behind pitchers Brodie Chestnutt in Game 1 and Coleman Willis and Andrew Dunford in Game 2, the Bears combined to allow just one run on five hits in the two games. It wasn't supposed to be that easy against East Paulding.
MOST INTENSE SERIES: Lassiter at Valdosta: In a hostile environment, Lassiter scored early and often against Valdosta to combat the crowd. Valdosta tried to crawl back into both games after digging themselves in a hole, but Lassiter responded each time. Still, Lassiter earned this one.
SEMIFINAL MATCHUPS: Lassiter at Pope; Houston County at Allatoona
BEST SERIES: Cartersville at Ware County - Ware County showed that only Gators get out alive in the Okefenokee Swamp. After splitting a pair of games on Monday, Cartersville trailed most of the decisive Game 3 on Tuesday and tied the game with a run in the top of the seventh. But in Ware's half of the inning, Lane Steedley's single scored Easton Weathersby from second, just ahead of the tag at the plate. It set off a wild celebration in Waycross.
MOST SURPRISING SERIES: Starr's Mill at Greenbrier: Starr's Mill put together a consistent series and eliminated Greenbrier, who entered the postseason playing as well as any team in Class 5A. After losing a one-run nail-biter in Game 1, the Panthers battled back to win Game 2, then opened the offensive floodgates in Game 3 to win the series.
MOST INTENSE SERIES: Saint Pius X at Wayne County: Wayne County packed its stadium and tried to make life miserable for the Golden Lions of Saint Pius. After allowing a run in the first inning of Game 1, St. Pius X pitchers Agyei Quinichett, Taz Butler, Matt Navarro and Will Tippett didn't allow anymore as Saint Pius X swept the series and continues to be the talk of the Class 5A playoffs.
SEMIFINAL MATCHUPS: Ware County at Starr's Mill; Saint Pius X at Loganville
BEST SERIES: Bainbridge at Cedartown - After Cedartown's pitching staff had combined to allow just seven runs in four playoff game victories over Mays and Flowery Branch, Bainbridge pouded Cedartown for a combined 14 runs on 15 hits and advanced to the state semifinals. The Bearcats' playoff run included sweeps of Spalding, Columbus and Cedartown.
MOST SURPRISING SERIES: Troup at North Oconee: The preseason No. 1 Titans made it look easy against Region 2 champion Troup. North Oconee set the tone with a 13-3 victory in Game 1, then finished off the Tigers with a 5-1 victory in Game 2. The Titans have won 14 straight, including playoff sweeps of Luella, Druid Hills and Troup. They haven't lost since April 9.
MOST INTENSE SERIES: Marist at West Laurens: After a first round split on Monday, Marist scored three runs in the top of seventh to take a one-run lead, then Andrew Williams cut down the Raiders in the bottom of the seventh to preserve the win and help Marist advance. It was a series that went back-and-forth until Marist ultimately came out on top.
SEMIFINAL MATCHUPS: Benedictine at North Oconee; Bainbridge at Marist
BEST SERIES: Cherokee Bluff at Appling County - Cherokee Bluff defeated Appling 13-12 in eight innings in Game 1, then Appling defeated Cherokee Bluff 6-3 in 11 innings in Game 2 to force a third and deciding game. With neither team having must pitching left, the Pirates erupted for 14 runs on 15 hits to run-rule Cherokee Bluff 14-4 in Game 3, the shortest game of the series.
MOST SURPRISING SERIES: Pierce County at North Hall: in a rematch of the 2017 Class 3A state championship series that North Hall won, the Trojans made it look easy against the Region 1 champion Bears in 6-2 and 7-1 victories.
MOST INTENSE SERIES: Ringgold at Harlem: Ringgold took the first game 8-4, then Mason Parker scored Ringgold's only run in the first inning of Game 2, and the Tigers made the run stand in a 1-0 victory to sweep the series. Chase Ghormely hurled a two-hit, complete-game shutout to eliminate the Bulldogs.
SEMIFINAL MATCHUPS: Appling County at Franklin County; North Hall at Ringgold
BEST SERIES: Lovett at Vidalia - The preseason No. 1 Lions took down the current No. 1 Indians. After Landry Mead outdueled Michael Hollingsworth in a 4-2 victory in Game 1 for Vidalia, Lovett's Will Prigge tossed a two-hit, complete-game shutout in a 1-0 victory in Game 2. Logan Givens' RBI single in the bottom of the sixth stood as the game's only run. In the decisive Game 3, Vidalia loaded the bases in the bottom of the seventh, but Conner Partin got a fly out to center field to end the threat and Vidalia's season with an 8-7 victory.
MOST SURPRISING SERIES: Callaway at Thomasville: Region 1 champion Thomasville took a one-run victory in Game 1, then Callaway battled back to win Game 2 to force a final game. But Thomasville's Ben Rawlings hurled a complete-game, four-hit shutout in a 6-0 victory in Game 3 to eliminate the Cavaliers. It was later ruled that Thomasville violated pitch count rules and had to forfeit the series.
MOST INTENSE SERIES: Haralson County at Jeff Davis: The road warrior Rebels had upended Banks County and Pace Academy in the first two rounds of the postseason, needing three games to win both series. But surging Jeff Davis didn't give Haralson a chance for a Game 3. The Yellow Jackets advanced to the state semifinals for the fourth straight season with a sweep.
SEMIFINAL MATCHUPS: Lovett at Bremen; Callaway at Thomasville
Class 1A Public
BEST SERIES: Gordon Lee at Wilcox County - Gordon Lee, trailing by five runs in Game 2, chipped away at Wilcox's lead. They grabbed the lead with a two-run sixth inning to take a 12-11 advantage, then held on to sweep the series. Wilcox County gave the top-ranked Trojans all they could handle in a series that was closer than the final scores indicated.
MOST SURPRISING SERIES: Claxton at ACE Charter: The Gryphons made quick wotk of Claxton, who entered the series playing its best baseball of the season. ACE Charter took a 5-4 victory in Game 2 to end the Tigers' promising season.
MOST INTENSE SERIES: Schley County at Metter: State power Schley County couldn't do much with Metter's two-headed pitching monster of John Luke Glanton and Brian Crooms. Rustan Rigdon worked the final two outs in Game 2, but Glanton and Crooms combined to allow Schley just one run on seven hits.
SEMIFINAL MATCHUPS: Metter at Charlton County; ACE Charter at Gordon Lee
Class 1A Private
BEST SERIES: Tattnall Square at Mount Paran Christian - Tattnall Square took Game 1, 5-4, then Mount Paran took the second game 7-1. In Game 3, Mount Paran took a 5-1 advantage before Tattnall cut the lead to one run entering its final at bat in the top of the seventh. The Trojans loaded the bases with two outs, but Cameron Collier recorded a strikeout for the final out and a 5-4 victory. It will be the first time since Tattnall Square joined the GHSA in 2015 that its season ended before the semifinal round.
MOST SURPRISING SERIES: Calvary Day at Fellowship Christian: Playing its third series on the road, Calvary Day couldn't stop Fellowship Christian's momentum as the Paladins made the sweep look relatively easy.
MOST INTENSE SERIES: Wersleyan at Savannah Christian: In a series that seemed more fitting for the state championship, the top-ranked Wolves ended Savannah Christian's 21-game winning streak with a pair of victories to sweep the series. Wesleyan has now won 23 straight games.
SEMIFINAL MATCHUPS: Wesleyan at Athens Christian; Mount Paran Christian at Fellowship Christian