If the regular season is just an appetizer, then high school baseball’s main course is about to begin.
With jockeying for position over, Columbia County teams will take the field Thursday to start the postseason competing in the Region 2-AAAAA Tournament.
Four of the eight region teams will head to the Georgia High School Association Class AAAAA state playoffs.
An opening-round series win could be considered the most important, because it ensures a spot in the state competition.
In 2014, Greenbrier High School was the class of subregion 2A, going a perfect 9-0 in three games apiece against Lakeside, Evans and Grovetown. The Wolfpack are a No. 1 seed and will play host to the No. 4 team from subregion 2B, Northside, Warner Robins (5-12, 1-8 region), in a doubleheader beginning at 4 p.m. Thursday, with the “if-needed” game scheduled for Friday.
Heading into play at Burke County on Monday night, the Wolfpack (14-4) featured a pair of unbeaten hurlers: sophomore Connor Hogan and junior Nick Sandlin, both at 6-0. Both post similar numbers across the board: Sandlin with a 1.43 earned-run-average and 35 strikeouts while Hogan boasts a 1.64 ERA with 38 punchouts.
Offensively, senior Adam Sasser is the Wolfpack’s biggest stick, leading the team with a .370 batting average with five home runs and 19 RBI.
The Lakeside Panthers (8-11), who begin defense of their 2013 region title, tied with Evans at 4-5 in subregion play but earned the No. 2 seed after taking two of three games from the Knights. The Panthers will play host to Warner Robins (6-13, 3-6).
Senior Cole Pittman leads the Panthers’ pitching staff with a 2-1 record, a 1.56 ERA and 40 strikeouts.
As a No. 3 seed, the Knights (12-8) will be on the road to No. 2 Jones County (13-4, 6-3) Thursday at 4 p.m., while the No. 4 Grovetown Warriors (8-10, 1-8) are headed to No. 1 Houston County (16-4, 8-1) Thursday with their games also beginning at 4 p.m.