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Tuesday June 27th, 2017 9:45PM

Baseball: Final weekend of regular season set for an exciting finish

By Jeff Hart Sports Reporter

The regular season of the 2017 baseball campaign will come to what should be an exciting finish Friday in several regions with over a dozen teams (counting Class A power rankings) fighting for playoff positioning that could determine their playoff fates.

There are some non-region matchups on Saturday, which will officially conclude the regular season..

Here is a breakdown of each northeast Georgia area region and the playoff possibilities (as we know them according to area coaches):

In Region 8-AAAAAA, things are wrapped up. Winder-Barrow officially cliched the region title last week and Gainesville clinched the No. 2 spot with a win over Apalachee on Wednesday. With Gainesville's win, Dacula dropped to the No. 3 seed and Lanier will be the No. 4 seed after Habersham Central fell to Dacula on Wednesday.

In Region 8-AAAAA, the four teams are set but only the top two spots were settled on Wednesday with Loganville knocking off Johnson to clinch the region title. That put Buford into the No. 2 spot with the Wolves' win over Walnut Grove on Wednesday. Buford's win, coupled with Flowery Branch's win over Cedar Shoals on Wednesday, put the Falcons into a third place tie with Walnut Grove. Flowery Branch can slide into the third spot with a win over the Jaguars and a Walnut Grove loss to Buford on Friday. If both teams wins on Friday the Falcons would win the tiebreaker by both teams being 2-4 vs. the three playoff teams and the Falcons outscoring Walnut Grove 8-6 in their split of two games during the regular season. If both the Falcons and Warriors lose the Falcons would be the No. 3 based on their 2-4 record vs. Walnut Grove's 1-5 record vs. the other three playoff teams. However, a Walnut Grove win and a Flowery Branch loss on Friday would drop the Faclons to the No. 4 seed.

In Region 7-AAAA, three teams have been determined. Blessed Trinity clinched the region title with its sweep of Marist last week. Marist will be the No. 2 seed and Chestatee claimed its first-ever playoff berth in baseball in program history. West Hall 's loss to Blessed Trinity on Tuesday clinched the No. 3 seed for Chestatee, which took 2 of 3 games over both West Hall and White County during the regular season. The Spartans will clinch the No. 4 seed with either a win over the Titans or a White County loss to Marist on Friday. The Warriors can still grab the final spot but would need a sweep of Marist and a Blessed Trinity sweep of West Hall.

Only Oconee County winning the region tite has been officially decided in Region 8-AAAA and it will go down to the final out of the final game to determine the other three seeds. Expect the final tiebreakers to have to be determined on a Saturday conference call. Oconee County clinched the No. 1 seed with a win over North Oconee on Wednesday coupled with Jefferson's win over Madison County on Thursday and the Dragons clinched a playoff berth in the process. Jefferson and Madison County will play in Danielsville on Friday with the winner taking the No. 2 seed. Stephens County, North Oconee, and St. Pius are all tied with the final spot.

In Region 7-AAA the four playoff teams have been decided with Greater Atlanta Christian clinching the region title on Thursday by virtue of North Hall's win over Dawson County. Fannin County is locked in as the No. 4 seed. North Hall snapped its five-game losing streak on Wednesday to pull into tie for second place with Dawson County. Those two teams' will close out the regular season in Dawsonville on Friday with the winner grabbing the No. 2 seed. The loser will be the third seed.

Region 8-AAA has concluded its region schedule with Morgan County claiming the crown and Hart County finishing second. Franklin County took third and Jackson County, a Final Four team from 2016, will be the No. 4 seed.

Region 8-AA also has completed its region play, with Elbert County claiming the title. Social Circle nipped Banks County by a game for second and Rabun County took fourth.

Region 8-A has been a tough region all season and the Class A power rankings reflect that, though nothing will be certain until the GHSA releases the final rankings at the end of the week. But, six teams in 8-A on the Private side are in the top 24 with Commerce (19th) the only Public in the top 24. But Towns County (25th) is just .04 percentage points out of a possible playoff spot.

See below for all the standings for northeast Georgia regions and the weekend's slate of games:

Area prep baseball standings as of April 21...

Region 5-AAAAAAA
TEAM........................Region...................Overall
Lambert.......................12-2......................18-12
Forsyth Central.............8-6......................18-11
West Forsyth.................8-6......................15-13
Milton............................8-6.......................16-11
South Forsyth...............5-9.......................14-14
North Forsyth...............1-13........................9-20

Region 8-AAAAAA
TEAM........................Region...................Overall
Winder-Barrow............14-0........................26-2
Gainesville..................10-4........................20-7
Dacula.........................9-5........................19-9
Lanier.........................4-10........................8-19
Habersham Central......3-11.......................13-16
Apalachee..................2-12.........................5-21

Region 8-AAAAA
TEAM........................Region...................Overall
Loganville....................10-1.......................18-10
Buford..........................9-2.......................17-10
Flowery Branch............7-4.......................15-11
Walnut Grove...............7-4.......................15-12
Clarke Central..............4-8........................9-18
Cedar Shoals..............1-10.........................3-19
Johnson......................1-10........................5-21

Region 7-AAAA
TEAM........................Region...................Overall
Blessed Trinity.............10-0........................25-3
Marist..........................7-3.......................13-14
Chestatee...................4-8.........................13-16
West Hall.....................3-7.......................11-12
White County.............. 2-8.........................4-20

Region 8-AAAA
TEAM........................Region...................Overall
Oconee County............9-5........................18-8
Madison County...........8-6.......................13-14
Jefferson......................7-7.......................16-11
St. Pius X.....................6-8.......................10-18
North Oconee..............6-8........................12-13
Stephens County.........6-8........................16-13

Region 7-AAA
TEAM........................Region...................Overall
Greater Atlanta Christ...14-2........................19-8
Dawson County............13-4........................19-8
North Hall....................12-5........................19-9
Fannin County..............9-9........................14-13
East Hall.....................5-12.......................11-15
Lumpkin County...........3-13........................7-19
Union County...............3-14........................8-16

Region 8-AAA
TEAM........................Region...................Overall
Morgan County.............13-2.......................24-6
Franklin County............10-5........................20-8
Hart County..................10-5......................14-16
Jackson County.............7-8.......................17-12
Monroe Area................4-11.......................13-15
East Jackson...............1-14........................4-26

Region 8-AA
TEAM........................Region...................Overall
Elbert County..............11-1.........................23-5
Social Circle.................9-3........................13-11
Banks County...............8-4........................12-15
Rabun County..............5-7..........................8-13
Monticello.....................4-8.........................7-18
Oglethorpe County.......3-9.........................13-14
Putnam County...........2-10..........................7-17

Region 8-A
TEAM........................Region...................Overall
Hebron Christian...........8-1.......................18-6
Athens Christian...........7-2.......................20-5
Prince Avenue..............7-2.......................18-9
George Walton.............7-2......................13-15
Providence Christian.....7-3......................16-13
Towns County...............6-5......................10-17
Commerce....................3-6......................15-13
Lakeview Academy.......3-6........................7-19
Athens Academy...........3-7.......................16-9
Riverside Military......... 1-8.........................3-16
Tallulah Falls..............1-10.........................5-14

Schedules for Friday April 17

(Listed in alphabetical order by visiting team)

(All start times are at 5:55 p.m. unless otherwise specified.)

Blessed Trinity at West Hall*
Buford at Walnut Grove*
Cedar Shoals at Flowery Branch*
Dacula at Habersham Central*
Gainesville at Apalachee*
Jefferson at Madison County*
Johnson at Loganville*
Lanier at Winder-Barrow*
Lumpkin County at Greater Atlanta Christian (DH),* 5 p.m.
Marist at White County (DH),* 5 p.m.
North Forsyth at South Forsyth*
North Hall at Dawson County*
Oconee County at North Oconee*
Stephens County at St. Pius*
Towns County at Lakeview Academy*
Union County at East Hall (DH),* 5 p.m.
Walhalla (S.C.) at Banks County

Saturday, April 22
Murphy (N.C.) at Fannin County, 1 p.m.
Madison County at Gainesville, 1 p.m.

(* -- Denotes region game.)

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