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Baseball: Previews of first-round state playoff matchups
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Forsyth Central's Mitchell Gross delivers a pitch during the Bulldogs' game against West Forsyth on April 17, 2019 at West Forsyth High School. - photo by Ian Frazer
Forsyth Central vs. South Gwinnett

When, where: Doubleheader Wednesday, 4 p.m. at Forsyth Central; Thursday, 5:55 p.m. if necessary

Records and seedings: Central is 16-9 and the No. 2 seed from Region 5-7A; South Gwinnett is 12-12 and the No. 3 seed from Region 8-7A

What to know: Is this Central team better than last year’s, which had the same playoff seed? Well, that’s up for debate, but this year’s Bulldogs didn’t have to pull off the same whiplash-inducing turnaround to make the playoffs, and up until the last game against Milton, Central even had a chance to win it this year. Last year’s first-round matchup, against Mountain View, was a tough one, and South Gwinnett looks like an easier go for the Bulldogs. The Comets had a winning record in region play, but they might be in the weakest region in Class 7A, and at one point this season they lost six straight.

What’s next: North Gwinnett or Lakeside-DeKalb in the second round

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Lambert's Will Hensley slides into third during the Longhorns' game against West Forsyth on March 18, 2019 at Lambert High School. - photo by Ian Frazer

Lambert at Grayson

When, where: Doubleheader Wednesday, 5:00 p.m. at Grayson; Thursday, 6:00 p.m. if necessary

Records and seedings: Lambert is 8-22 and the No. 4 seed in Region 5-7A; Grayson is 22-8 and the No. 1 seed from Region 8-7A

What to know: The Longhorns have battled inconsistency at the plate and on the mound this year, but with wins over North and Milton at the end of the regular season, they secured the final playoff spot out of their region. Beating Grayson will be a very tough ask for Lambert, though – they were a perfect 15-0 in region play and have scored eight runs or more 16 times this year.

What’s next: Mountain View or Brookwood in the second round

 

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North Forsyth's Carter Mullikin rounds third base during the Raiders' 10-run fourth inning in their game against West Forsyth on March 29, 2019 at North Forsyth High School. - photo by Ian Frazer

North Forsyth at Archer

When, where: Doubleheader Wednesday, 4:00 p.m. at Archer; Thursday, 5:00 p.m. if necessary

Records and seedings: North is 16-12 and the No. 3 seed in Region 5-7A; Archer is 17-11 and the No. 2 seed from Region 8-7A

What to know: After spring break, the Raiders came back home from Florida in a slump, scoring three runs or less in losses to Milton, Lambert, Forsyth Central and South Forsyth. North snapped that four-game region losing streak during its regular season finale against West Forsyth, a game where the Raiders scratched seven runs across. They hope that’s the beginning of a new trend – they’ll face a Tigers team in the first round that, while inconsistent at times, has the potential to score big.

What’s next: Peachtree Ridge or Parkview in the second round

 

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Forsyth Central's Greg Tasos slides into first base ahead of the tag of Denmark's Logan DeLong during the teams' game on March 6, 2019 at Denmark High School. - photo by Ian Frazer

Denmark vs. Northwest Whitfield

When, where: Doubleheader Wednesday, 1 p.m. at Northwest Whitfield; Thursday, 5:30 p.m. if necessary

Records and seedings: Denmark is 12-16 and the No. 4 seed in from Region 7-4A; Northwest Whitfield is 20-6 and the No. 1 seed from Region 6-4A

What to know: The Danes squeaked into the playoffs in the last week of the regular season, but getting a berth at all is no small accomplishment for a first-year program in a tough region. Denmark’s offense hasn’t been a problem often this year, but in Northwest Whitfield, they’ll have an opponent that has allowed just 59 runs in all this year, a bit over two per game. The Danes will hope that their own pitchers can give the offense some room for error.

What’s next: St. Pius X or Troup County in the second round

 

Pinecrest Academy vs. First Presbyterian

When, where: Doubleheader Thursday at First Presbyterian; Friday, if necessary

Records and seedings: Pinecrest is 14-10 and the No. 21 seed in Class 1A-Private; First Presbyterian is 15-10 and the No. 12 seed in Class 1A-Private

What to know: The Paladins had an underwhelming performance to end their region tournament, losing the last two games to Fellowship Christian and St. Francis, and lost their first six games of the year. In the middle of that sandwich, though, was an absolutely scorching run of 14 wins and two losses. The Paladins, as the No. 21 seed, are in the same spot as they were last year, and that run ended in the state quarterfinals. Pinecrest doesn’t have the massive top-of-the-order duo that they did in Ben Gobbel and Will Patota last year, but Caleb Bohn has been huge at the plate, and staff ace Patrick O’Rourke has taken a step forward on the mound.

What’s next: Calvary Day in the second round