Sunday May 1st, 2016 8:25AM

Spring sports postseason gets going full swing, as baseball and soccer join chase

By Morgan Lee Sports Editor
The backstretch of the high school sports season is now in full view, and there is plenty of excitement afoot, as area programs sprint toward the finish line this week.

State playoffs get underway this week for baseball and soccer, while the tennis playoffs continue -- meanwhile, the area's top female athletes compete in their state meet in Albany.

Did we also mention that spring football is beginning this week for a number of northeast Georgia programs? Indeed there is plenty going on over the best few days.

Nowhere will busier this weekend than Albany, however, where the state's top female athletes will battle for gold in the GHSA girls track and field championships. The line-up will feature a number of northeast Georgia standouts and a number of gold medal hopefuls, including defending Class AAA 100 meter champion Maia Caldwell-Booker of West Hall. (For a look at all of the area athletes that qualified for the state finals, click here.) While the three-day competition in Albany will wrap the year for a number of competitors, there are plenty of more that hope to keep playing through this week and beyond.

That includes eight tennis programs that will take part in playoff matches this week -- including the North Hall boys vs. Blessed Trinity, Riverside Military vs. Model, Commerce boys vs. Claxton, Lakeview Academy boys vs. Mt. Paran, Gainesville girls vs. Sequoyah, Flowery Branch girls vs. Allatoona, North Hall girls vs. St. Pius and Commerce girls vs. Clinch County.

The soccer postseason also kicks off this week, beginning on Tuesday for area squads. A number of schools, including Johnson, Gainesville, Chestatee, West Hall, Dawson County, Buford, Jefferson and Union County placed both boys and girls teams into the bracket. The story lines are myriad: Can Johnson's boys continue a magical season? Can Gainesville's boys bounce back from a disappointing region setback? Can Buford's girls break through to a championship? And there are many more questions to be answered -- answers that will start to come over the next few days.

At the end of the week, northeast Georgia's top baseball programs will get their playoff marches underway with first round, best-of-three series. There are some intriguing match-ups scheduled, including between Region 7-AAA and 5-AAA. Both regions have produced strong postseason teams over the past few years, and that could indeed be the case again this year. They will have to find a way past each other first, however. Buford, North Hall, West Hall and White County know they will have to be at their best to progress this week. Gainesville and Flowery Branch also face big tests in Class AAAAA.

In other words, we've got some races on that are far from finished.

Tuesday, April 29
SOCCER -- First Round State playoffs:
Boys Class AAAAA
Tucker at Gainesville
Boys Class AAAA
Lumpkin County at Chamblee
Marist at Johnson
Stone Mountain at Chestatee

Second round of state completed

Wednesday, April 30
SOCCER -- First Round State playoffs:
Girls Class AAAAA
Flowery Branch at North Atlanta
Lakeside, DeKalb at Gainesville
Girls Class AAAA
Chamblee at Johnson
Chestatee at Marist
Lumpkin County at Grady

Thursday, May 1
SOCCER -- First Round State playoffs:
Boys Class AAA
Buford at Coahulla Creek
Cartersville at West Hall
East Jackson at Woodward Academy
Jackson County at St. Pius
North Hall at North Murray
Ringgold at Dawson County
Boys Class AA
Lovett at Jefferson
Riverside Military at Westminster
Union County at Greater Atlanta Christian
Boys Class A
Lakeview Academy at Paideia

Girls State Championships in Albany

Friday, May 2
BASEBALL -- First round state playoff doubleheaders in best-of-three series:
Tucker at Gainesville
Flowery Branch at Dunwoody
Class AAAA
Redan at Lumpkin County
Stephens County at Marist
Class AAA
Jackson County at Blessed Trinity
North Murray at Buford
Sonoraville at North Hall
White County at Cartersville
West Hall at Ringgold
Class AA
Greater Atlanta Christian at Jefferson
Wesleyan at Union County
Rabun County at Lovett

The Invite at Chattahoochee Golf Club

SOCCER -- First Round State playoffs:
Girls Class AAA
East Jackson at Blessed Trinity
Islands at Buford
Ringgold at Dawson County
West Hall at Cartersville
White County at Adairsville
Girls Class AA
Wesleyan at Jefferson
Westminster at Union County
Girls Class A
Towns County at Pace Academy

Girls State Championships in Albany

Saturday, May 3
BASEBALL -- First round state playoff series:
Game 3 if necessary

Georgia State High School Fishing Championship -- Laurel Park, Gainesville

The Invite at Chattahoochee Golf Club

Quarterfinal round of state completed

Girls State Championships in Albany
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