GHSA Round 2 playoff recap

Posted 5/5/2022

Mill Creek swept East Coweta in its Class 7A second round series. The Hawks will play

at Lowndes in the quarterfinals. (Special Photo: Nicole Seitz)


GHSA Round 2 recap

Rough weather stole the show in a handful of Georgia High School Association state baseball playoffs. At least on Tuesday night, anyway.

Thunder and lightning delayed several series, including Class 7A Cherokee at Lowndes and a pair of series in Class 4A involving Pickens and Thomas County Central and Heritage (Catoosa) and Bainbridge. It delayed Alpharetta at Colquitt County in Class 7A and even temporarily halted play in a few series in the Savannah area.

By the time Tuesday night ended, a pair of series were still going. Lowndes' 6-1 Game 2 victory, which gave the No. 2 Vikings a sweep, ended around 1:15 a.m. in the early morming hours, while Heritage-Catoosa and Bainbridge needed eight innings for the Generals to pull of the sweep, a series that concluded around 12:40 a.m. Wednesday morning.


Class 7A

BEST SERIES: Etowah at Walton-- This one lived up to a heavyweight fight among two traditional powers. After Walton scored a 1-0 victory in Game 1, Etowah rallied to win Game 2 and force a winner-take-all Game 3. Etowah escaped the third game and continued its season.

MOST SURPRISING SERIES: Lambert at Parkview -- Both teams entered the season nationally ranked by several media outlets. It wasn't surprising that Parkview won, but a matter of how they won. The three-time defending champion Panthers thoroughly dominated, winning by a combined 21-0 in the sweep. Landon Stripling had a big part of that, going a combined 6 for 7 at the plate with six RBIs and three RBIs. He also pitched five innings in Game 2 to earn the victory on the mound.

WHEW: Tyshon Patty of Mountain View carried a no-hitter into the sixth inning of the Bears' series at Newnan. But the Cougars had other plans, breaking open a 1-1 game in Game 2 to help Newnan earn the sweep in a series that was much closer than the score indicated.

ON ROAD AGAIN: Playing on the road has been good to North Gwinnett. The Bulldogs ousted Region 6 champion Denmark in the first round, then swept Campbell Tuesday night to advance to the quarterfinals. North Gwinnett, who finished as the fourth seed from Region 8, will be on the road again in the next round at Etowah.

THIS & THAT: Five of the eight schools still alive finished as region champions - Woodstock (Region 5), Newnan (Region 2), Parkview (Region 4), Mill Creek (Region 8) and Lowndes (Region 1). .... Cole Mullins had four RBIs and Hutch Ezell had three RBIs to Game 2 to help Mill Creek win 9-2 and sweep past East Coweta. .... Noah Thigpen pitched out of a bases loaded jam in the top of the seventh Game 1 to help Lowndes to a 3-1 victory in Game 2. He got a perfectly executed double play turned by Tate Sirmans and Cooper Melvin to end the game. That set up William Joyner's complete-game pitching performance in Lowndes' 6-1 victory in the nightcap. Joyner fanned nine while allowing just a run on three hits. .... Colquitt County ousted Alpharetta in three games to move into the quarterfinals for the first time since 2012. .... Woodstock has made a living of making it to the quarterfinal round. The Wolverines have been in the quarterfinals four times since 2017.

QUARTERFINAL ROUND MATCHUPS: Woodstock at Newnan; Colquitt County at Parkview; North Gwinnett at Etowah; Mill Creek at Lowndes


Class 6A

BEST SERIES: Alexander at Lee County-- It may have been a sweep for the underdog Cougars, but Lee County didn't go down without a fight. Lee County had runners on base in the bottom of the seventh in Game 1, but Alexander pitcher Xander Kyzar induced a ground ball out for the final out to preserve the 3-2 victory. Then Kole Orshoski's four-hit shutout in a 1-0 victory in Game 2 propelled the Cougars to the sweep. Brock Lucas' RBI single in the first inning of Game 2 was all the run support Orshoski needed.

MOST SURPRISING SERIES: Effingham County at Pope -- One might have figured Effingham County would have put up more of a fight in this series, but Pope pounded the Rebels by a combined 32-3 in a pair of run-rule victories. Effingham looked strong in its first-round series sweep of North Atlanta. Pope appears to be reaching its peak at the right time. 

THIS & THAT: Lassiter is back in the quarterfinals for the second straight year after a back-and-forth affair with Richmond Hill. The Trojans took command in Game 3, then held on to take the series. .... After Kody Clance's RBI single scored Trey Barker for the go-ahead run in the bottom of the sixth inning of Game 3, South Paulding got a 4-6-3 double play turned by second baseman Zach Maloney to shortstop Harrison Ratner to first baseman Tyler Chatham to help the Spartans hold on to beat Lakeside-Evans 4-3 and help lift South Paulding into the quarterfinals for the first time in school history. .... Left-hander Drew Fields hurled a seven-hit shutout to help Allatoona blank South Effingham in Game 3, 3-0, and advance. ....No team is playing better than Houston County who has won 14 straight, including playoffs sweeps of Alcovy and Cambridge in the first two rounds. But they will face a Buford squad in the quarterfinal round that hammered Glynn Academy by a combined 21-3 in the its second round playoff series. .... First-year coach Jay Matthews has Evans in the quarterfinals after the Knights used a six-run fifth inning to take the lead for good in Game 3 in a 9-5 victory over Carrollton.

QUARTERFINAL ROUND MATCHUPS: Lassiter at South Paulding; Alexander at Allatoona; Pope at Evans; Buford at Houston County


Class 5A

BEST SERIES: Blessed Trinity at Ware County -- Stephen Taylor scored when Trey Jeffers drew a bases-loaded walk in the bottom of the seventh of Game 1 to force home the winning run in a 2-1 victory in Game 1. Then rain and lightning forced Game 2 to be moved to Wednesday. That didn't slow down the Gators who took an 8-5 victory in Game 2 on Wednesday to sweep the series. It was Blessed Trinity's 19th consecutive playoff trip and 16th consecutive 20-win season.

MOST SURPRISING SERIES: Coffee at Cartersville -- There were few teams playing better baseball than Coffee, but the Trojans ran into a red-hot Cartersville team that has lived up to its No. 1 ranking. The Purple Hurricanes swept the series and are in the quarterfinals for the 23rd time in the past 26 seasons. The victories were the Hurricanes' 10th and 11th in a row.

FINDING A WAY: Defending state champion Starr's Mill has taken its beatings this year, but the adversity they faced has paid off in the playoffs. The Panthers swept past Locust Grove in the first round, then the No. 3-seeded Panthers scored perhaps the biggest upset in the Class 5A bracket so far with a sweep of Region 6 champion North Springs Tuesday night.

THIS & THAT: Greenbrier stumbled into the playoffs after finishing as the third seed from the rugged Region 8. The Wolfpack have scored impressive sweeps in the state playoffs over Maynard Jackson and Ola. Greenbrier will play at Cartersville in the quarterfinals. .... In a rematch of last year's quarterfinal round that Saint Pius X won, Wayne County got even in 2022 with a sweep of the Golden Lions on Tuesday. .... After graduation took a big toll on Decatur last year, the Bulldogs are back in the state quarterfinals after sweeping Veterans. .... Loganville quietly continues to win, sweeping past Harris County in a pair of victories, running their winning streak to eight. Since a three-game losing skid against larger schools in early April, the Red Devils have won nine of their last 10. .... Apalachee continues its historic run. After making the second round of the playoffs last week, the Wildcats weren't satisfied. They needed three games to oust Whitewater, but their historic run will continue into the quarterfinal round after they eliminated Whitewater Wednesday night. 

QUARTERFINAL ROUND MATCHUPS: Wayne County at Apalachee; Greenbrier at Cartersville; Starr's Mill at Decatur; Loganville at Ware County


Class 4A

BEST SERIES: Troup County at Marist -- After dropping the first game of the best-of-three series, Troup County trailed 10-5 heading into the bottom of the seventh. The Tigers scored five runs to tie the game at 10 and send the game into extra innings. In the eighth, Will Keeter singled to score Brett Haynes for an 11-0 walkoff victory to force Game 3. Then in Game 3, Troup jumped out to a 5-0 advantage before Marist rallied to tie. However, Troup County eventually built a big lead and eliminated the defending state champions in a 10-5 Game 3 victory.

MOST SURPRISING SERIES: Cairo at Cedartown-- Cairo was no punching bag and had played some excellent baseball coming into its second round series with Cedartown. But the fact that the Syrupmakers managed just one run in a pair of games against Cedartown tells you just how lethal the Bulldogs can be in postseason play.

THIS & THAT: Johnathan Glover scored the game-winning run in the eighth to help Heritage-Catoosa win 13-12 in eight innings in Game 2, propelling the Generals to a sweep. Heritage is in the quarterfinals for the second straight year. .... Perry has largely flown under the radar for most of the season, but the Panthers' sweeps of Shaw and Druid Hills in the playoffs have them riding a 12-game winning streak. .... North Oconee is riding a 30-game winning streak after sweeping Columbus in its second round series. The Titans' only loss was a 9-6 setback to Lassiter on Feb. 21. .... There hasn't been anything fancy about Thomas County Central, but the Jackets are playing well after sweeping New Hampstead and Pickens in the state playoffs.. TCC continues to be led by senior Adam Lane and juniors Reid Harvey and Griffin Taylor.  .... After Northwest Whitfield shut down Benedictine in a 7-2 victory in Game 1, the Bruins' pitching couldn't contain Benedictine's hot bats in the next two games. The Cadets scored a combined 28 runs in the next games to take the series in a rout. .... LaGrange broke a 5-all tie with a pair of runs in the bottom of the sixth of Game 3, then set down Flowery Branch to win 7-5 and win the series.   

QUARTERFINAL ROUND MATCHUPS: Heritage-Catoosa at LaGrange; Cedartown at Perry; Troup County at Benedictine; North Oconee at Thomas County Central


Class 3A

BEST SERIES: Sonoraville at Pike County -- This series was like a heavyweight boxing match between two prized fighters who refused to give in. Sonoraville won Game 1, Pike rebounded to win Game 2, then they traded blows in Game 3 until Pike County scored three runs in the bottom of the sixth to tie the game at 7. After Sonoraville failed to score in the top of the seventh, Josh Buffington reached on an error allowing Mason Trucks to score for a walk-off victory to win the series.  

MOST SURPRISING SERIES: Cherokee Bluff at Pierce County-- Cherokee Bluff came out swinging and won Game 1 to stun the crowd in Blackshear. Then they came within an inning of pulling off a sweep in the nightcap on Wednesday. Pierce County scored twice in the top of seventh in Game 2 to grab a 3-2 lead, then held on to tie the series at a game apiece. But Pierce's Knox Bennett smashed a grand slam in Game 3 on Thursday to help them to a 9-5 victory and take the series.

THIS & THAT: Greater Atlanta Christian is in the quarterfinal round for the first time since 2017 after besting Long County in three games. The Spartans run-ruled the Blue Tide in Game 3 to win 12-2. .... Jaret Bales struck out a career-high 16 batters but Appling County took a 6-4 victory in Game 1 of its second round series. But the defending state champs rallied to win Games 2 and 3 to take the series. .... Harlem's Emery Burnett tossed a five-hit shutout to set the tone for the Bulldogs in a 4-0 victory in Game 1 over Ringgold in their second round series. Then Tryston McCladdie's 3 for 4 performance at the plate keyed Harlem to a 9-3 victory in Game 2 to help Harlem sweep the series. .... After falling to Burke County in Game 1 of its second round series, Stephens County got a no-hitter from Cruz Mullinix to help the Indians to a 5-1 victory to tie the series. But Burke County took the series with a walk-off 4-3 victory in Game 3 to claim the series on Thursday. .... In a back-and-forth series, it was only fitting that Redan and Southeast Bulloch needed extra innings to settle the series on Thursday after the two split a pair of games on Wednesday. Taveon Witherspoon's two-run single in the top of the eighth broke a 5-all tie. Then Redan held Southeast Bulloch scoreless in the bottom of the eighth to win the game and the series. .... Franklin County's Lawson Gailey tossed a two-hit shutout to lead the Lions to an 11-0 victory over Morgan County in their second round series. Then Miles Dodd and Kayne Jinks combined to allow Morgan County just a run on four hits in a 5-1 victory in Game 2, sending Franklin to a sweep.

QUARTERFINAL ROUND MATCHUPS: Greater Atlanta Christian at Pike County; North Hall at Harlem; Burke County at Redan; Franklin County at Pierce County 


Class 2A

BEST SERIES: Jeff Davis at Elbert County -- All Class 2A second round playoff series resulted in sweeps, but this one appeared headed for a split after Jeff Davis took Game 1, 10-1 and Elbert County took a 2-0 lead late in Game 2. But Alex Mason slapped a three-run homer and sent the defending state champions to a 3-2 win in Game 2 and a series sweep.

MOST SURPRISING SERIES: Cook at Model -- Model has been for real all season as evidenced by their ranking in the Class 2A poll this season. The Blue Devils showed no mercy against a very good Cook team that had surged into the rankings late in the season. Model won 3-0 and 10-0 to sweep its second round series. If Model keeps playing this well, the Blue Devils will be hard to beat

RED HOT: Thomasville has won 18 straight, including a pair of victories over Coosa on Wednesday to sweep its second round series. Lefty Jacob Jordan and Ben Rawlings combined to pitch the Bulldogs past Coosa in a 11-2 Game 1 win. Then senior Gabe Duncan tossed a perfect six-inning game in a 11-0 Game 2 victory. Duncan struck out seven in the Game 2 victory.

ON A ROLL: Vidalia has run-ruled its opponents in all four of its postseason games. The Indians, winners of 20 straight, pounded Putnam County in its first round series to sweep. Then Vidalia hammered Banks County in its second round series, run-ruling the Leopards in both games to sweep the series. The competition will get much tougher as Callaway will visit Vidalia in the quarterfinal round.

THIS & THAT: Lovett scored three runs in bottom of the seventh in Game 1 to beat Swainsboro 9-8 when Kai Cunningham's sacrifice fly scored Joel Lopez for the game-winning run. Then Will Prigge hurled a three-hit shutout in a 6-0 Game 2 win to sweep Swainsboto. Prigge stuck out 13 in the victory. .... Bleckley County scored three runs in the third inning of Game 1 against Pepperell. The Royals made those three runs stand up in a 3-1 victory behind pitcher JR Fordham's complete-game victory. Then Eli Mullis tossed a four-hit shutout in a 2-0 victory in Game 2 to sweep Pepperell. .... Callaway has won eight straight after sweeping past Lamar County in the second round. The Cavaliers scored 10 runs in each game and topped Lamar by a combined 20-5. .... Pace Academy pitcher Lucas Klopp set the tone for the Knights' sweep of Toombs County. Klopped hurled a five-hit shutout in an 8-0 victory in Game 1, then Pace held on a for 10-6 victory in the nightcap to advance.

QUARTERFINAL ROUND MATCHUPS: Callaway at Vidalia; Lovett at Model; Pace Academy at Bleckley County; Jeff Davis at Thomasville


Class 1A Public

BEST SERIES: Irwin County at Commerce -- Commerce needed three games to eliminate Irwin County from the postseason, but the way the Tigers did it was impressive. The Tigers trailed 5-1 heading to bottom of the seventh in Game 1 but rallied for five runs to win on a walk-off. Ryan Cooper's RBI single scored JP Allen to give Commerce a 6-5 Game 1 win. Then after getting run-ruled in Game 2 in a 14-1 Game 2 loss, Commerce's Coy Argo and Hudson Thomason combined to allow just two hits and a run in a 9-1 victory to claim the series.

MOST SURPRISING SERIES: Social Circle at Wilcox County -- Social Circle handed top-ranked Wilcox County its first loss of the season in an 11-10 Game 1 victory. Then the Redskins finished off Wilcox with a 7-3 victory in Game 2 to end the Patriots' season at 27-2. 

TOUGH ON HITTERS: Claxton managed to score just four total runs against Schley County as the Wildcats swept past the Tigers. In Game 1, senior Trypp Lumpkin and Ridge James combined on a six-hit shutout to help Schley to a 1-0 win, outdueling Claxton ace Hayden Morris who allowed just a run on two hits. Then in Game 2, Owen Lamb and Ridge James combined to allow just three runs on six hits as Schley took a 4-3 victory. 

THIS & THAT: Charlton County survived a wild Game 3 to end one of the best Washington-Wilkes baseball season in the school's history. After the two teams split a pair of games on Wednesday, the Indians outlasted Washington-Wilkes 9-7 to advance to the quarterfinals. The two schools combined for 16 runs on 20 hits. Since the GHSA split into a public/private classification in 2013, Charlton County hasn't lost before the quarterfinal round .... ACE Charter is back in the quarterfinal round for the second straight year after hammering Bryan County by a combined 23-1 in a second-round sweep. .... Gordon Lee swept Johnson County and moved into the quarterfinal round for the sixth straight season. .... Defending state champion Metter rolled past GMC. The Tigers finished the series with 27 strikeouts in 12 innings from three pitchers, mustered 28 hits with 23 RBIs, scored 26 runs and finished with nine extra base hits. .... ECI is the only No. 4 seed in Class 1A Public still playing after the Bulldogs swept past Crawford County.

QUARTERFINAL ROUND MATCHUPS: Schley County at Charlton County; Social Circle at ACE Charter; Gordon Lee at Metter; ECI at Commerce


Class 1A Private

BEST SERIES: Tattnall Square at Mount Paran Christian-- The boxscore showed a sweep for Mount Paran Christian, but Tattnall Square gave the defending champions all they could handle. The Eagles needed eight innings in Game 1 to win 2-1 when Luke Dotson drew a bases-loaded walk to force home the game-winning run. Then Paul Farley allowed a run on one hit in a complete-game victory in Game 2 as Mount Paran Christian swept the Trojans. It was the first time since Tattnall Square joined the Georgia High School Association in 2015 that the Trojans' baseball season ended before the quarterfinal round.

MOST SURPRISING SERIES: Calvary Day at Wesleyan -- Wesleyan has state championship aspirations, but the Wolves hammered a red-hot Calvary Day squad 16 -0 in Game 1, then took Game 2, 10-4. The Cavaliers entered the second round having won 16 straight.  

ON FIRE: Whitefield Academy rolled past Athens Academy, running its winning streak to 11 games. Second-year Whitefield coach Mike Shaheen will try to slow down his former school when his Wolfack entertain Wesleyan in the quarterfinals. Shaheen coached at Wesleyan and guided the program to back-to-back state titles in 2009-10. His former assistant, Brian Krehmeyer, is the current Wesleyan coach.

THIS & THAT: A few days after feeling like his team didn't play well in a first-round sweep of Paideia, Saint Anne-Pacelli coach Bobby Howard had to like what he saw in the Vikings' 11-3 and 4-0 victories over Mount Paran Christian. It was the team's eighth straight victory. .... Daniel Powell's RBI single in the bottom of the ninth inning scored Will Austin to give Fellowship Christian a 2-1 walk-off victory in Game 1 of its second round series against Trinity Christian. The Paladins used that momentum to roll to an 8-3 victory in Game 2 to sweep the series. .... Savannah Christian swept a pair of games from Hebron Christian to win its sixth game out of the past seven. .... Hayden Marshall's four-hit shutout in Game 1 led Prince Avenue Christian to a 10-0 victory in Game 1 of its second round series against Eagles Landing Christian. The Wolverines then swept the series with a 9-7 Game 2 victory. .... After losing to First Presbyterian Day in the first game of its second round series, North Cobb Christian roared back to win the final two games to take the series. The Eagles' Michael Mullinax drove in six runs with a homer and a grand slam as North Cobb Christian won 11-3 in Game 3 to take the series.

QUARTERFINAL ROUND MATCHUPS: Wesleyan at Whitefield Academy; Mount Paran Christian at Saint Anne-Pacelli; Fellowship Christian at Savannah Christian; North Cobb Christian at Prince Avenue Christian