As of Thursday night, two out of the four Columbia County Region 2-AAAAA baseball teams advanced to the second round of the region tournament and qualified for the state playoffs.
Greenbrier (16-4) swept Warner Robins 11-3, 9-3 and will now face Lakeside (15-7), who swept Northside and Warner Robins on the road, 5-0 and 6-2. That game will be Tuesday, April 23 at 6 p.m. at Greenbrier.
The Evans Knights could be the third. They won their first game against Jones County 5-1 and posted a 3-2 come-from-behind win in game two. They were awaiting a ruling from the Georgia High School Association after Jones County filed a game report – essentially a protest – following a seventh-inning controversy about a forced pitching change.
The Grovetown Warriors (11-10) saw their season come to an end after being swept by Houston County.
Qualifying for the state playoffs was gratifying for the Wolfpack, who were the state AAAA runners-up a year ago, but they were keeping focused on what is directly ahead of them.
“Honestly, our first goal was to win sub-region championship, now our next goal is to win region championship,” said first baseman Adam Sasser.
The left-hander provided the offensive fireworks in game one. With the Wolfpack up 5-0 with the bases loaded, two outs and a 3-2 count, Sasser drove a fastball the other way for a grand slam home run and a 9-0 lead in the fourth inning. The Wolfpack would add one more in the inning to go up 10-0.
Sasser finished with two hits and six RBI for the game.
That hit looked all the more important as the Demons rallied for three runs in the top of fifth inning.
“He’s done a great job of coming through in big situations, and that was obviously a big spot,” said Wolfpack head coach Chris Wilkins.
The three runs were the only ones Clint Hardy (5-0) would allow, otherwise cruising through his six-inning stint giving up six hits with seven strikeouts before Christian Hill was called on to retire the side in the seventh.
Connor Hoover had two hits and scored four times while Hardy and Taylor Glover each came across the plate twice.
The Demons defense kept them in the game early. Sasser had an extra-base hit taken away in the first inning on a leaping grab at the wall by the right fielder that would have scored Glover from first. In the second, the left fielder leapt and reached over the wall to rob Hardy of a grand slam that turned into a long sacrifice fly.
The Wolfpack would not be held down for long, however, scoring three in the fourth to go up 6-1 with three more in the sixth to lead 9-1.
Knox Marchman paced the Wolfpack in the second game with three hits and two RBI in his four at-bats and freshman second baseman Ty Snipes contributed two hits and two RBI.
Austin Robinson (6-1) got the win in the nightcap, scattering seven hits while striking out seven.