Baseball: History lesson on all 32 Georgia high school semifinal teams

042821 Atlanta: Atlanta Braves shortstop Dansby Swanson’s glove and ball sit on the field while preparing to play the Chicago Cubs in a MLB baseball game on Wednesday, April 28, 2021, in Atlanta.    “Curtis Compton /”

Credit: Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@

Credit: Curtis Compton / Curtis.Compton@

042821 Atlanta: Atlanta Braves shortstop Dansby Swanson’s glove and ball sit on the field while preparing to play the Chicago Cubs in a MLB baseball game on Wednesday, April 28, 2021, in Atlanta. “Curtis Compton /”

The baseball playoffs resume Friday through Monday with semifinals series. Here’s a look at each classification with some playoff history of each of the 32 teams remaining.

All eight defending champions are still playing. They are Lowndes (7A), Houston County (6A), Loganville (5A), North Oconee (4A), Harlem (3A), North Cobb Christian (2A), Prince Avenue Christian (A Division I) and Charlton County (A Division II).

Others are much less expected this season. In Class A, Tallulah Falls had never won a playoff round until this season, and Lake Oconee Academy had never advanced past the first round.

Class 7A: Defending champion Lowndes (29-6) and non-region-winners Brookwood (26-9), Grayson (21-12) and North Paulding (22-11) are in the semifinals of the highest class. Lowndes has allowed only nine runs in seven playoff games and beat South Forsyth 5-0, 11-1 to advance to the semifinals, where the Vikings will face Region 3 runner-up North Paulding in a rematch of the 2023 semifinal that Lowndes swept 3-0, 4-3. North Paulding has one previous appearance in the finals, in 2021, when beaten by Parkview. Lowndes is seeking to become the first South Georgia team to win the highest class in back-to-back seasons since 1982-83 Coffee. Region 4 rivals Brookwood and Grayson will meet in the other semifinal after each scored one-run Game 3 victories in the quarterfinals. Neither won its region (Parkview did but lost to North Paulding in the second round). Brookwood is playing in its eighth semifinal. The Broncos won state titles in 1986 and 2008. Grayson has never reached a final. The Rams are in their third semifinal, first since 2019. Brookwood won two of three from Grayson in the regular season.

Class 6A: Four blue bloods are in this classification’s semifinals. All have championship pedigree – Etowah (2017), Houston County (2014, 2021, 2023), Pope (2009, 2013, 2017, 2018, 2022) and Blessed Trinity (2006, 2014, 2015). Houston County – 6-0 in playoff games and 27-7 overall this season – is the defending champion and ranked No. 1, but the Bears were runners-up in their region to since-eliminated Tift County and had to win their past two playoff series on the road. They’ll have to do it again at Pope (23-13). Blessed Trinity (26-8) travels to Etowah (28-5) in the other semifinal.

Class 5A: Loganville (21-12) is the two-time defending champion, with seven state titles overall. The Red Devils are 6-0 in the playoffs. They are facing Kell, the Region 2 runner-up that knocked out Greenbrier with a 3-2 Game 3 victory Monday. Kell is in its second semifinal, first since its 2006 state runner-up finish. Cartersville (29-5) is ranked No. 1. The Hurricanes are 6-0 in the playoffs. They are playing at Ware County, a program that eliminated them in the 2021 quarterfinals. Ware (24-11) has won a pair of Game 3 clinchers to stay alive, the latest an 8-2 victory over second-ranked Greater Atlanta Chrisitan.

Class 4A: North Oconee (25-7) is the three-time defending champion and will travel to Starr’s Mill (28-2), the 2021 Class 5A champion, in one semifinal. North Oconee defeated Starr’s Mill 15-5, 4-1 in the 2023 semifinals. Both are 6-0 in the playoffs. The other semifinal has Holy Innocents’ (19-11) at Cherokee Bluff (27-4). Holy Innocents’ made the semifinals most recently in 2018 and won the Class 2A championship in 2007. Cherokee Bluff is a 6-year-old Hall County school playing in its first baseball semifinal.

Class 3A: Harlem (30-1) is the defending champion. The Bulldogs have won eight previous state titles, but the first seven were in the 1970s and 1980s. They swept second-ranked Pickens 2-1, 11-1 in the quarterfinals. They’re at home against Oconee County (20-14), which is in the semifinals for the second time, first since 2010, and is seeking its first final. It’s Mary Persons (21-12) at Calvary Day (23-5) in the other semifinal. Mary Persons, founded in the 1920s, is in the semifinals for the first time. Calvary Day has made six semifinals in the past 20 years, but all the previous ones were in Class A. Calvary won Class A titles in 2005 and 2007. Rockmart is in its third semifinal, first since 2019.

Class 2A: No. 1 North Cobb Christian and No. 2 Mount Paran Christian, from the same region and county seven miles apart, are favored to face each other but must get through the semifinals. North Cobb Christian (30-4) is home against Rockmart (28-6) while Mount Paran (23-4) is traveling to Appling County (19-11). North Cobb Christian is the defending champion. Mount Paran won a title in 2021. Appling County, in its third semifinal in four years, won in 2012.

Class A Division I: Tallulah Falls (24-10) is the only semifinals that had never won a playoff round until this season. The Indians had lost two previous first-round series. They are playing at King’s Ridge Christian (27-8). King’s Ridge Christian won titles in 2014 and 2015 but is making its first semifinal appearance since 2016. Prince Avenue Christian (29-2) is the defending champion. Its opponent, traveling from middle Georgia, is Crawford County (24-8), appearing in its first semifinal. All four teams swept their quarterfinal series.

Class A Division II: Lanier County (26-8) beat #1 Schley County 6-5 in a Game 3 this week to reach the semifinals for the first time since 1984. Lanier County plays at No. 5 Bowdon (27-9), in its first semifinal since 2019. Neither has won a state title. Defending champion Charlton County (32-2) must win on the road at Lake Oconee Academy (26-5). Lake Oconee made the playoffs for the first time last season, reaching the second round.

Here are the semifinal matchups with each team’s region, seed and state ranking.

Class 7A (Saturday/Monday)

R4 #3 Grayson at R4 #2 Brookwood [No. 4]

R3 #2 North Paulding at R1 #1 Lowndes [No. 2]

Class 6A (Saturday/Monday)

R1 #2 Houston County [No. 1] at R7 #2 Pope [No. 8]

R7 #1 Blessed Trinity [No. 6] at R6 #1 Etowah [No. 2]

Class 5A (Friday/Saturday)

R6 #2 Kell [No. 10] at R8 #1 Loganville

R7 #1 Cartersville [No. 1] at R1 #1 Ware County [No. 8]

Class 4A (Saturday/Monday)

R6 #2 Holy Innocents’ at R8 #1 Cherokee Bluff [No. 2]

R8 #3 North Oconee [No. 5] at R4 #1 Starr’s Mill [No. 1]

Class 3A (Friday/Saturday)

R2 #1 Mary Persons [No. 9] at R3 #1 Calvary Day [No. 3]

R8 #3 Oconee County at R4 #1 Harlem [No. 1]

Class 2A (Saturday/Monday)

R6 #2 Mount Paran Christian [No. 2] at at R3 #1 Appling County [No. 9]

R7 #1 Rockmart [No. 6] at R6 #1 North Cobb Christian [No. 1]

Class A Division I (Friday/Saturday)

R4 #2 Crawford County [No. 9] at R5 #1 Prince Avenue Christian [No. 1]

R8 #2 Tallulah Falls [No. 4] at R6 #1 King’s Ridge Christian [No. 7]

Class A Division II (Friday/Saturday)

R2 #1 Charlton County [No. 2] at R8 #1 Lake Oconee Academy

R2 #2 Lanier County [No.7] at R7 #1 Bowdon [No. 5]