Baseball: First round action highlighted by upsets

Photo by Whitney Reddin

The first round of the GHSA State Baseball Tournament has already changed the landscape of the upcoming rounds. In Class 6A, the nation’s preseason No. 1 ranked team and defending state champion Lambert (20-9) was defeated in three games by postseason arch rival Milton (18-6). The Longhorns were not the only No. 1 seed ousted in the first round. East Coweta (19-8) and Tucker (17-9) were also greeted with rude exits.

In Class 5A, Starr’s Mill (21-4), a No. 1 seed and the top ranked team in our final pre-playoff polls, was stunned by South Effingham (20-7). The Mustangs clawed out wins of 2-1 and 14-13 to defeat the powerful Panthers. No. 1 seed Richmond Hill (18-7) saw its season end prematurely thanks to Northgate (15-6). The Wildcats had entered the playoffs on a 12-game win streak. Greenbrier (20-3) fended off No. 4 seed Hardaway (17-12) in three games.

Defending 4A champion Carrollton (12-16) snuck back into the postseason but was quickly turned away by No. 1 seed St. Pius (26-2) in two games. Four-seed Upson-Lee (16-9) knocked off No. 1 seed Crisp County (20-8) in three games.

Out of the eight No. 1 seeds in 3A, three went to series deciding third games. Four-seed Hart County (15-14) upset No. 1 Franklin County (20-6). No. 1 seed Jackson (23-5) held on against Jenkins (13-14). Callaway (20-7-1) knocked off upset-minded four-seed Adairsville (13-12-1). Blessed Trinity (25-2) and Pierce County (26-2) are the top two ranked teams entering the playoffs and proved why in round one. The Titans won 10-0 and 19-0 while the Bears won 10-1 and 15-0.

The only surprise in 2A was four-seed Harlem (16-11) beating Monticello (16-10). The Bulldogs now face the stiff test of Lovett (22-5) in round two after the Lions swept Bowdon (18-0) by a combined score of 32-2.

Two of the three top seeded teams in Class A-Public were challenged in the opening round. No. 2 seed Charlton County (21-5), who is looking to three-peat, beat Lanier County (13-13) in three games, winning the clincher 7-3. No. 3 seed Miller County (16-8) was unable to escape No. 14 Commerce (14-15). The Pirates lost 5-2 in the rubber match.

Round two of Class A-Private will be highlighted by a meeting between the past two state champions. Defending champ King’s Ridge (23-3) will lock horns with 2013 champion Eagle’s Landing Christian (19-3), who is riding a 16-game winning streak.

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