The Georgia High School Association baseball playoffs will begin Friday afternoon with a loaded area home schedule.
Three Columbia County schools (Greenbrier, Harlem and Lakeside), Aquinas and Thomson will all play host to a first-round series. Among the intriguing first-round matchups:
- South Effingham at Harlem: The Bulldogs won their final seven Region 3-AAAA games to snatch the second playoff spot from Evans.
- LaGrange at Thomson: The Bulldogs won their second consecutive Region 3-AAA title. LaGrange, which won a state title in 2004, is no first-round pushover.
- Westside at Wayne County: The Patriots might be one of the most dangerous No. 4 seeds in the Class AAAA bracket after beating two of the three playoff-bound teams that finished ahead of them in the region.
ALREADY THERE: The Aquinas boys tennis team won two matches in a three-day span last week to advance to the state semifinals, which begin Friday at Clayton County International Park.
The Irish improved to 17-0 on the season. They moved their quarterfinal match up to last week to try to get ahead of the sloppy weather expected to plague the area early this week. Aquinas then used its strong depth to wipe away Telfair County, 5-0. Aquinas has yet to drop a team point in any match thus far during the playoffs, as has semifinal opponent The Walker School (Marietta).
"For us to be in the semis is just phenomenal," coach Patti Williams said.
The Greenbrier girls, Evans girls, Lakeside girls and Lakeside boys all began the week still alive in their respective brackets and hoping to join the Irish in Clayton County this weekend. Teams have until Wednesday afternoon to complete quarterfinal matches.
MARK HIM: Evans boys soccer coach Brian Killips earned his 100th win when the Knights nipped Statesboro 5-4 in an entertaining first-round playoff game.
Getting to No. 101 will be a chore. The Knights play Hardaway tonight at Columbus State. Evan Scott, a Georgia State recruit, has scored 62 goals for Hardaway this year. To put that in perspective, no one in the area has scored more than 33. Scott scored six times in a first-round win over Ola.
Lakeside and Greenbrier are both at home tonight in the second round and stand a great chance to advance to Friday's quarterfinals, which they would again play at home.
BIG EVENTS THIS WEEK
South Carolina district finals, Wednesday night: South Aiken, North Augusta and Fox Creek all need one home win to capture district championships. They will all play host to finals Wednesday night and will need to be beaten twice to be eliminated. South Aiken and North Augusta advanced to this point with back-to-back wins on the road.
TRACK AND FIELD
Region 3-AAAA boys track finals, Wednesday 5 p.m.: Rain on Monday postponed running event finals until tonight at Westside. Also, this week: the state girls meet is Thursday-Saturday in Albany.