In round one of the Georgia state playoffs, Columbia County proved its reputation was warranted.
In Class AAA, the Harlem Bulldogs scored 31 runs in dispatching Peach County with a 14-1 win, 4-6 loss and 13-3 win. Harlem will square off with Troup in round two. Troup was only a four seed from Region 2, but upset Region 1 champion Worth County in a two-game sweep 12-1 and 7-4.
In AAAA, all three Columbia County schools earned playoff spots. Lakeside, the fourth seed, took on Region 1 champ Thomas County Central. After losing a heartbreaker 5-3 in nine innings in game one, the Panthers won a 10-9 thriller to even the series at one game apiece. Their upset bid went down the drain, however, when Thomas County Central took care of Lakeside 10-3 in game three.
Evans took on powerful Lee County to open the playoffs. The Knights, a third seed from Region 2, were up for the challenge as Ricky Beale's squad earned a two-game sweep with wins of 2-0 and 5-4. The Knights move on to play Woodward Academy. Woodward was another four seed to knock off a No. 1 seed when they swept Luella in round one (8-5, 9-5).
The top-ranked team in Class AAAA rode the arm of sophomore Nolan Belcher to earn a win in the first game of its series with Bainbridge. The lefty struck out a school-record 18 batters and earned the victory when Cal Morris connected on a two-run homer in the seventh. In game two, Greenbrier picked up an easy 14-7 win. The Pack, now 27-0, will take on Whitewater in round two. Whitewater defeated Henry County 5-4 and 11-3 to capture a round-one sweep.
All-Star event might be pushed back
The first Columbia County Middle School Baseball All-Star Game scheduled for May 27 might be pushed back a few weeks. Organizers plan to decide this week whether to continue with the date.
After a few minor changes in the selection process and a change in how the teams will be divided, a decision must be made whether the May 27 date gives planners enough time to take care of all the details. A decision will be made in the next couple of days, and the details will be in my column Sunday.
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