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Monday February 24th, 2020 3:10AM

Baseball: Area teams take roller-coaster ride on opening night of second round

By AccessWDUN Staff

There was impressive success, gut-wrenching defeat and a little bit of everything in between for northeast Georgia's prep baseball programs on Thursday in the second round of the state baseball playoffs.

Two programs moved on, two saw their seasons ended, two will fight for their postseason lives again on Friday -- and yet another waits in the wings.

(NOTE: Scroll down for a complete at Thursday's state playoff results and Friday's schedule.)

Buford and Jefferson swept to victory in their respective classifications, the Wolves slamming the door on Decatur 10-2 and 5-4 in Class 5A. Buford awaits the winner of the Ola vs. Wayne County series in the quarterfinals (Wayne County knocked Buford from the 2017 playoff bracket in the second round, ending a streak of at three straight semifinal or better appearances for Buford).

Meanwhile, Jefferson shut down Northwest Whitfield's offense with 3-0 and 5-1 wins in Class 4A. The Dragons already know their quarterfinal opponent, as Woodward Academy also swept through the second round. Jefferson clinched its deepest postseason appearance since reaching the 2015 Class 3A title series.

Flowery Branch and North Hall are also still going in the postseason -- but have one game in their respective series to determine their playoff futures.

The Falcons opened their Class 5A series at Arabia Mountain with a 7-6 win -- but then dropped Game 2, 4-2. The Falcons will trek back to the Dekalb County school for a 5 p.m. start in Game 3 on Friday.

In Class 3A, North Hall will hope to have turned the corner after responding to a 11-1 loss in Game 1 against Lovett with a gutty 7-6, 9-inning win in Game 2. The Trojans will host the Lions at 6 p.m. Friday at Jody Davis Field.

Both Gainesville and Rabun County saw their seasons come to an end on Thursday, as the Red Elephants battled in Game 1 before falling 6-5 at Allatoona in Class 6A action. The hosts then took a 12-2 win in Game 2 to bring to an end the careers of nine Red Elephants seniors and Jeremy Kemp as GHS coach. Kemp is headed to Cherokee Bluff, turning the reins over to Adam Miller after 10 seasons as head coach with 255 wins (second only in program history to longtime coach Wayne Vickery), four state semifinal appearances and one state runner-up finish.

The Wildcats fell to Callaway 3-0 and 9-7 in Class 2A after fighting back to take the lead in Game 2.

And then there is Commerce, which is awaiting the settlement of an injuction filed against GHSA that halted all play in the Class A Public bracket. The Tigers will travel to face Emanuel County Institute when a settlement is reached (Commerce is in no way involved in the injuction, but it has halted all Class A Public play).

SECOND ROUND STATE BASEBALL
Thursday Results

(Area teams in bold)

CLASS 6A
Allatoona 6, Gainesville 5
Allatoona 12, Gainesville 2
(Allatoona wins 2-0)

CLASS 5A
Buford 10, Decatur 2
Buford 5, Decatur 4
(Buford wins 2-0)

Flowery Branch 7, Arabia Mountain 6
Arabia Mountain 4, Flowery Branch 2
(Best of 3 series tied 1-1)

CLASS 4A
Jefferson 3, Northwest Whitfield 0
Jefferson 5, Northwest Whitfield 1
(Jefferson wins 2-0)

CLASS 3A
Lovett 11, North Hall 1
North Hall 7, Lovett 6, 9 innings
(Best of 3 series tied 1-1)

CLASS 2A
Callaway 3, Rabun County 0
Callaway 9, Rabun County 7
(Callaway wins series 2-0)

CLASS A Public
Commerce series at ECI postponed

Friday Game 3 schedule
CLASS 5A
Flowery Branch at Arabia Mountain, 5 p.m.

CLASS 3A
Lovett at North Hall, 6 p.m.


STATE QUARTERFINAL MATCH-UPS
(As of Friday morning)
CLASS 5A
Buford vs. Ola/Wayne County winner (series tied 1-1)

CLASS 4A
Jefferson vs. Woodward Academy

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