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Today, we preview the Class 2A-6A baseball state championships. Follow scores, brackets and schedules for the remaining baseball playoffs HERE or visit the AJC's High School Sports Page. Also, download the free High School Scoring App for your mobile devise if you have not already for each day's schedule and live scoring of the state playoffs.  


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In This Issue
When was the last time Walton baseball won a state title?

Today's answer can be found in the newsletter!

Wednesday's Answer:
Jason Rooks hit a 2-run homer in Walton's Game 3 victory over Kennesaw Mountain






GHSA Playoffs


Saturday, May 23, 2015



(R8 #1) Parkview at (R5 #1) Walton


Class AAAA

(R8 #1) Buford at (R5 #1) Whitewater


Class AAA

(R8 #2) Jefferson at (R4 #1) Blessed Trinity


Class AA

(R7 #1) Darlington at (R6 #1) Wesleyan


Monday, May 25, 2015


(R8 #1) Gainesville at (R7 #2) Greenbrier

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Friday, May 22, 2015


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By Kyle Sandy, Craig Sager II

Five championship series await Memorial Day weekend


The Class AAAAAA championship matchup was set Wednesday night as Walton's Jason Rooks blasted a two-run homer in the bottom of the sixth inning to give the Raiders (30-5) a dramatic 5-4 victory over visiting Kennesaw Mountain in Game 3. Awaiting the Raiders is five-time state champion Parkview (32-2), which

Photo by Dave Steele

swept Pope with a 3-2 Game 1 victory Monday night and a 12-3 Game 2 rout Tuesday night. The Panthers went into the top of the 4th tied 2-2 but drove in 10 runs in the final three innings, while finishing the game with 13 hits and drawing six walks. Trevor Brown went 4-4 at the plate with a walk and was driven home all five times he reached base.  Walton's pitching rotation will face a deep Parkview lineup that is outstanding at driving up pitch counts. Walton is looking for its first state title since 2007.


It took 11 innings, but Greenbrier (27-3) erased Allatoona in Game 2 ofthe Class AAAAA semifinals 8-6, togive the Wolfpack a shot at their sixth state championship and first since 2007 in the Class AAAAA finals. Gainesville (28-6) also brings a championship pedigree to the table with a whopping seven titles, but it has been 13 years since the Red Elephants last won in 2002. Greenbrier's playoff run got off to an inauspicious start with a 3-2 loss to Hardaway,but the Pack quickly righted the ship and have won eight straight playoff games since. Gainesville faced elimination inGame 3 of the quarterfinals against four-seed Cinderella South Effingham,but an 8-6 win was enough to push the Elephants through to the semis where they faced Greenbrier's Region 2 foe,Jones County. 

Gainesville defeated the Greyhounds in two one-run games to advance to the finals. Nick Sandlin has come up big fo rthe Wolfpack and will be asked to do so again against Gainesville. The Southern Miss-signee struck out 11 batters in a one-hitter in Game 1 against Allatoona before following it up with three innings of relief in Game 2. First baseman Adam Sasser has inked to play at Georgia and will be a big factor in the championship series. Gainesville relies on second baseman and Mississippi-signee Luke Maddox to spark the offense.Lefty Jonathan Gettys has produced big-time performances on the mound and is headed to LSU. Outfielder Brandon Sewell is entertaining multiple offers from SEC and ACC schools.


The Class AAAA state championship is set between top seeds Buford (32-2) and Whitewater (29-5). Both teams came close to winning it all last year, but faltered late in the tournament. Buford was defeated by Cartersville in the AAA semifinals while the Wildcats lost in heartbreaking fashion to Houston County in three games inthe AAAAA finals. The Wolves have torn through the field with five shutoutwins this postseason and are in search of their third ever state title and first since 2011.

Whitewater has never won a ring, but Coach Rusty Bennett has built a premier program that has started to become recognized nationally. Aside from a three-game scare in the second round against Pike County, the Wildcats have cruised in the playoffs. Jake Higginbotham is Buford's strike-pounding lefty who is signed with Clemson. Brothers Nick and Austin Wilhite are juniors but are already bothpledged to play at Georgia Tech; catcher Joey Bart is already a Tech-signee.

Hard throwing righty Connor Bennettis another ace to pair up with Higginbotham and is a West Virginia-signee. Whitewater counters with some horses of its own. 6-foot-6, 240-pound Ethan Gillis is a top notch lefty committed to Kennesaw State. Jabari Richards, a Furman-signee, plays outfield and is another left-handed pitcher. Brandon Bell and Tyler Burdette are both run producers. Buford defeated Whitewater 1-0 onMarch 4 with both teams combiningfor nine hits.


In Class AAA, defending champion Blessed Trinity (31-2) swept Westside-Augusta to return to the finals andnow face the Jefferson Dragons. John Castro drove in all three Titans' runs Game 1. Castro hit a two-out double in the top of the 1st inning but the 2-0 lead was brief as Westside's Jonathan Jahn belted a 2-run homer in the bottom of the inning to tie it 2-2. Castro scored the game-winning run in the top of the 5th on a solo home run. 

In Game 2, Blessed Trinity once again took a 2-0 lead, but this time, the Patriots would find no answers. Adding insurance was Blessed Trinity's Conor Davis, who hit a 3-run homer to push the lead to 5-0. Jefferson (24-7) held off Westminster's seventh inning rally in Game 1 fora 5-4 victory and after dropping Game 2 turned around with a 5-2 victory Game 3 to advance to the state championship for the first time in program history.

Jake Franklin was outstanding in Game 3 for Jefferson and pitched a complete game, while going 3-for-4 at the plate. The Darlington Tigers swept the visiting Rabun County Tigers and will play for the school's first state title since 1984 against Wesleyan on Saturday. Jay Shadday gave up one earned run off four hits in Game 1's seven-inning victory in the semis and crossed the plate for two of the five runs after batting 2-of-3 with a walk. 

Burton Dulaney drove in four runs in the bottom of the fifth to give Darlington a 5-1 lead. Dulaney took the mound for Game 2and gave up two earned runs in five innings pitched as Darlington made quick work of Rabun County with a10-run victory. Wesleyan's sweep of Fitzgerald in the semis included a 10-0Game 1 shutout. The Wolves (30-4)are searching for the program's first state title since their three-peat from 2008-10. 



Athens Christian coach passes away at 67

Ron Link was diagnosed with ALS in the fall but continued to coach Athens Christian's boys team with help from assistant coaches Tim Cummings and Chad Link, his son this season. Link won more than 700 games spanning 45 years as a basketball coach in Georgia. His eighth and final Athens Christian team, led by Georgia signee William "Turtle" Jackson, was 29-1 and reached the Class A private-school semifinals. Link was named the Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Class A coach of the year. The Athens Banner-Herald was the first to the story. 


CLICK HERE for full story


Ron Link 'lived the game and he loved it'


Coaches, players remember Ron Link on social media 






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