The Greenbrier and Evans high school baseball teams took care of business, but the Lakeside and Harlem squads have some work left.
Nick Wandless tossed a complete game, and added a two-run homer, as the Wolfpack whipped the Panthers in Region 3-AAAA action Monday at Lakeside. With the win, Greenbrier clinched the region title and nailed down a No. 1 seed for the Class AAAA state playoffs.
Evans posted wins in its final two Region 4-AAAAA games to earn a home series in the region tournament, which begins Friday. Seth Newsome struck out 14 batters to lead the Knights to a 6-0 win Friday at McIntosh, while Jon Lee (2 for 2, with a grand slam and five RBI) and Fernando Mickens (4 for 4) paced Evans to a 10-4 victory over Mt. Zion-Jonesboro Monday at Evans.
"We're glad to be playing at home and not having to get on the bus," Evans coach Ricky Beale said. Had the Knights lost one of their final two games, the team would have been on the road in the region tournament.
Monday's action was highlighted by bunts, blasts and blunders.
At Evans, the Knights broke open a close game with two precise bunts in the sixth inning. That set the stage for Lee's grand slam.
At Lakeside, Ben Tankersley drove in the Pack's first run with a suicide squeeze in the fifth, Wandless launched a seventh-inning homer to left to increase the lead to 4-1, while Greenbrier catcher Robert Davis and shortstop Russell Carter nailed two Panther baserunners at third base.
"Robert picking the guy off third base took some momentum from them, because they were in a good position to score with one out, and Russell made a heck of a play in the hole in the seventh, " Pack coach Ed Williams said.
Lakeside can secure the No. 2 seed in Region 3-AAAA with wins over Hephzibah (5 p.m. today at Hephzibah) and Thomson (5:30 p.m. Friday at Lakeside).
Greenbrier finishes with a home game today against Statesboro (6 p.m.) and a road game Friday at Josey (4 p.m.).
While the Wolfpack has clinched a No. 1 seed for the state playoffs, Williams says there is still incentive to finish strong.
"We want to approach the Statesboro game like everything is on the line," Williams said. "We want to win the region outright. That's what we're focusing on doing."
The Harlem Bulldogs are in a must-win situation today against Westside (5 p.m. in Harlem). In order to make the Class AAA state playoffs, the Dogs have to beat the Patriots and hope that Cross Creek knocks off Jefferson County.
"Westside will come up here ready to play," Lewis said. "I'll tell my players before the game, it's in your hands. If you want to go to the state playoffs, play like you're capable."
Evans also needs solid play to secure a Class AAAAA state playoff berth. The Knights face McIntosh in a best-of-three region playoff series, which begins with a Friday doubleheader at Evans (game time TBA). Game three, if necessary, would be Saturday.
The top eight teams from Region 4-AAAAA compete in the tournament, with No. 1 vs. No. 8, 2 vs. 7, 3 vs. 6, and 4 vs. 5. Evans is the No. 4 seed.
Winners from the four playoff series advance to state.
"We've talked about it all year - we just want to be in the dance (the state playoffs). From there anything can happen," Beale said. "I feel like we've got the pitching and the defense to play with anybody. With a couple of clutch hits here or there, you never know."
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