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Wednesday July 18th, 2018 2:14PM

Playoff baseball: Buford, Jefferson set for finals showdowns

By Jeff Hart Sports Reporter

The Buford and Jefferson baseball teams navigated their way through treacherous playoff waters over the past month. Now both will play for state titles on Monday.

The Wolves will take on fellow Region 8-5A foe Loganville for the Class 5A championship at the University of Georgia's Foley Field. First pitch for Monday's doubleheader is scheduled for 5 p.m. Game 3, if necessary, will be Wednesday with a time yet to be determined.

The Dragons will take on Cartersville in the Class 4A championship series, also beginning with a 5 p.m. doubleheader on Monday, at State Mutual Stadium, home of the Rome Braves, in Rome. Game 3, if necessary, will be Wednesday with a time yet to be determined.

Buford swept their way through one half of the Class 5A bracket going a perfect 8-0, including taking a pair of games in a high-pessure series on Tuesday against rival Flowery Branch. The semifinal victory pushed the Wolves into their third championship series in the last four years. In their last foray into the finals, the Wolves lost the Class 4A title series to Locust Grove in 2016. They won the Class 4A title in 2015.

Loganville, defending Class 5A champ (the program also won titles in 2012 and '08), has done the same however. And Buford knows it will need its best performance of the season to take out the Red Devils, which took the regular season series over the Wolves 4-2 and 8-1.

The Dragons are coming off a stunning two-game upset sweep of No. 1-ranked Blessed Trinity, which was ranked No. 3 in the country by Maxpreps, in the Class 4A semifinals. Jefferson is making its second championship series appearance in the past four years. The Dragons fell to Blessed Trinity in the 2015 Class 3A title series.

Cartersville also notched a semifinal sweep, taking out Heritage, Catoosa in two games, and will be making its ninth championship series appearance. The Purple Hurricanes last won a state title in 2013 and also won championships in '09, '08 and '03.

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