Cartersville is the first No. 1-ranked baseball team to go down in the state playoffs, ousted by Greenbrier last weekend, while highly touted Parkview, Houston County and Loganville moved on to the semifinals with inspiring victories.
Cartersville had been No. 1 all season in Class 5A and entered the quarterfinals on a 25-game winning streak but had a tough draw, facing six-time former state champion Greenbrier on the road. Greenbrier, ranked No. 4, won 4-3, 4-6, 5-3 and will play at No. 3 Loganville in a series that begins Saturday.
Loganville, the defending champion, barely escaped last week, beating No. 5 Locust Grove 3-2 in the deciding game with two runs in the top of the sixth for the lead. Locust Grove had won 30 straight games (not including one tie) until dropping Game 2.
Then in Game 3, Loganville’s Sherm Johnson retired all 12 men he faced, drove in a run on a sacrifice fly and scored the winning run. No. 2 McIntosh plays at No. 9 Centennial in the other 5A semifinal.
In Class 7A, which has its semifinals Wednesday and Thursday, No. 1 Parkview finds itself the only ranked team remaining. The Panthers won their quarterfinal Game 3 against Dacula 8-7 when pinch-hitter Mason Davis was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded in the top of the final inning. Parkview, which had trailed 6-4 late, held on.
Parkview will be at home in the semis against Mill Creek. North Paulding plays at Lowndes in the other semifinal. Only Lowndes, with a title in 1981, has won a state title outside of Parkview, a nine-time former champion.
Houston County, the No. 1 team in 6A, beat No. 2 Blessed Trinity 3-5, 4-2, 6-1 in the marquee matchup of the quarterfinals. Both were ranked in the top three in all classifications by MaxPreps. Carson Small allowed just three hits over six innings in the clinching victory.
Houston County is home beginning Saturday against unranked Etowah. No. 9 River Ridge plays at No. 3 Pope, the defending champion.
In Class 4A, defending champion and No. 1-ranked North Oconee is averaging 12 runs per game in six playoff games, all victories, and plays at home next against No. 6 Starr’s Mill. Unranked Lovett plays at No. 4 LaGrange in the other semifinal.
Class 3A No. 1 Harlem, seeking its eighth state title but first since 1987, has swept all three of its series and will play at unranked Pike County, the defending champion, starting Saturday. No. 2 Savanah Christian travels to No. 6 Ringgold.
In Class 2A, No. 3 Mount Paran Christian plays at No. 1 Fellowship Christian while No. 6 Appling County plays at No. 2 North Cobb Christian. Mount Paran has allowed only four runs while going through the playoffs 6-0.
The Class A playoffs, a round behind, play their quarterfinals Wednesday and Thursday. No. 1 Prince Avenue Christian in Division I and Charlton County in Division II remain alive.
Draws and game times can be found on GHSA’s website.
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