In round one of the Georgia High School Association state baseball playoffs last week, Evans, Lakeside and Greenbrier showed why Columbia County has earned state-wide recognition for its prowess on the prep diamond.
All three squads swept their first-round series by convincing margins. The six-game run totals: Columbia County 85, Opponents 20. That comes out to an average beating of 14.2 to 3.3.
Evans, forced to go on the road as a No. 3 seed in Region 4-AAAAA, made quick work of Warner Robins. The Knights took game one (9-1) behind a 4-hit pitching performance by Justin Walker, who picked up his seventh win of the season.
Walker also came up big at the plate in the second game, going 2 for 3 with a grand slam to lead Evans to a 13-3 rout. Brendan Thomas went 4 for 5, and Seth Newsome improved his pitching record to 7-1.
Today, Evans is at home for round two, squaring off with Groves in a 3 p.m. doubleheader. Groves took two tight games from Ware County (4-2 and 6-4) in first-round play last week.
Greenbrier was even more dominant in its first-round series last week at the Brierpatch. The Pack faced an overmatched Dougherty squad, and blew out the Trojans 13-2 and 29-7.
Pack senior Philip Tapley was 6-for-6 in the series, with a home run, two triples and five RBI. Brothers Nick and Scott Wandless each added a three-run homer. Scott went deep in the opener Thursday, and Nick launched his shot in the nightcap.
Greenbrier, ranked No. 4 in Class AAAA, will play host to Heritage today. The Patriots advanced by sweeping Troup County (12-3, 3-1), and bring a No. 6 ranking into the 3 p.m. doubleheader.
Lakeside had to work a little harder against Thomas County Central last Thursday at Panther Stadium, but still managed 7-1 and 14-6 victories.
Pitcher Matt Josephson was the story of Game One, as he tossed a 4-hitter. On offense, Preston Crews was 5 for 6 in the series, while Eric Mamo, Parker Dye, Danny Ryan and Brant Evans each had a homer.
The Panthers now travel to play Jones County. The Class AAAA second-round series begins with a 2 p.m. doubleheader today.
Jones County has produced Major League players Willie Greene and Rondell White, and the Greyhounds have another budding star this season in Justin Tyler. The center fielder has eight home runs this season (45 career homers) and is hitting a whopping .520. Tyler can throw, too - he has compiled a 9-2 mark at pitcher.
Lakeside does get a break - Jones County will be without pitching ace and cleanup hitter Malcolm Curry, who suffered a season-ending elbow injury last week. Curry is projected to be a top 10 pick in next month's baseball draft.
All three matchups look to be intriguing. Lakeside, Evans and Greenbrier will be tested, but here's hoping last week's results are an indication of good things to come.
The Columbia County News-Times ©2013. All Rights Reserved.