The Greenbrier and Evans high school baseball teams both completed their state playoff quarterfinal series with Monday sweeps on the road, but the Wolfpack and Knights were in much different moods during their return trips to Columbia County.
The Pack posted 7-2 and 3-2 victories in Class AAAA action at Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe. Nick Wandless and Michael Newman picked up wins on the mound for Greenbrier, which earned a home series in the state semifinals.
"We got in about two in the morning, but winning made the trip a lot better," Pack coach Ed Williams said. "We didn't swing the bats the way we have been, but now we have a few days to get ready for the next round."
The Pack (24-6) will face the Columbus-Marist winner in a Friday doubleheader at the Brierpatch (time TBA). The third game, if necessary, would be Saturday.
Monday in Marietta marked the end of the road for Evans, as Lassiter swept the Knights by scores of 5-0 and 12-7 in the Class AAAAA quarterfinals.
Lassiter struck for five runs in the fourth inning of Game 1, then jumped ahead 12-2 in Game 2. Evans rallied with five runs in the bottom of the seventh, but that wasn't enough to prevent a season-ending loss.
"We knew about some of their better players. We didn't know they were going to hit as good, top-to-bottom," Evans coach Ricky Beale said of the Trojans, who reached the 30 wins for the season and advanced to the state semifinals.
The Knights finished with a 23-8 record in their first campaign under Beale.
Meanwhile, Greenbrier advances to the Class AAAA semifinals for the second straight season; the Pack has been to the semis five times in the school's six-year history.
Things will be a bit different Friday when the Marist-Columbus winner visits the Briarpatch for a doubleheader. Columbia County schools are out for summer, and Coach Williams hopes his players aren't ready for a vacation.
"These guys have made a commitment to play baseball, and they have no regrets about what they're doing," Williams said. "We've never had to go through this, playing in the playoffs with school out. You like to stay in your routine, and I don't know how the kids will react."
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