While most of the nation relaxes on Memorial Day, South Forsyth will be working hard to make sure its run in the state baseball playoffs doesn’t become a memory.
The top-ranked War Eagles (28-4) take the field at 3 p.m. Monday in the state Class AAAAA semifinals, with East Paulding (24-10) paying a visit to War Eagle Field.
The Raiders should present a stiff challenge to South’s batters, with senior ace Zack Wheeler considered one of the top pitching prospects in the nation, and the No. 2 hurler, Bobby Rednour, no slouch himself.
The pair combined to strike out 28 batters while surrendering just three hits in the Raiders’ doubleheader sweep at Lowndes in the quarterfinals.
“Their strength is definitely in their arms,” South coach Jamie Corr said of the Raiders.
“[They have] a couple of top-tier pitchers in the state that do a fantastic job of hammering the zone, and our hitters will have a big challenge in front of them.”
Upsets against other No. 1 seeds have given South the benefit of staying home for every playoff round so far.
Based on bracket placement, the Region 7-AAAAA champ War Eagles wouldn’t get home field against any other region champion.
That hasn’t been a problem so far, as No. 1 seeds South Gwinnett, Luella and Lowndes have all fallen to lower seeds on South’s half of the bracket, keeping the War Eagles off the bus.
East Paulding is the third seed from Region 5-AAAAA.
Monday’s other state semifinal features No. 2 Pope hosting defending champion Brookwood.
Whoever emerges from those series will have a short turnaround time. The state championship series starts Friday.
This is the deepest run into the playoffs for a Forsyth County baseball team since 2003, when South made it to the semifinals in Class AAAA.
This year’s War Eagles seem to be enjoying the ride, and have adopted a sign of solidarity that you won’t see under the caps and batting helmets — playoff mohawks.
“A few of the seniors got together and decided to get them and it spread through the rest of the team, and to certain members of the coaching staff,” Corr said, noting that the trend has gone beyond the team, to other students and even Corr’s young son.
As for the coach himself?
“They got me about a week and a half, two weeks ago,” he confessed.