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Tuesday June 6th, 2023 9:38PM

Baseball: Early trends, surprises after opening week of region play

By Jeff Hart Sports Reporter

All but one region involving Northeast-Georgia-area teams opened their region schedules last week. And if the first week is any indication, it figures to be a wild roller coaster ride for most area teams.

Region 8-2A is the last to open and will do so on Tuesday with a full slate of games. Meanwhile, the rest of the seven Georgia High School Association regions are off and running.

Region 7-3A, for instance, opened play last week -- except for Gilmer -- and none walked away with a clean slate or being swept either. Every team is within one game of the lead, with Pickens, Dawson County, and Lumpkin County all sitting at 2-1. Wesleyan, West Hall, and White County all are 1-2.

They will get back at it on Tuesday with Pickens heading to White County, Dawson County traveling to Gilmer, and West Hall playing host to Lumpkin County.

Region 8-4A closed out its crossover portion between the two subregions last week. No. 1-ranked Cherokee Bluff went a perfect 5-0 while North Oconee went 4-1, with the Bears taking down the defending state champions. 

Now, all 10 teams playing region schedules (Johnson opted out) will get under way on Monday with best-of-three series. East Hall plays host to Chestatee and North Hall heads to East Forsyth. Cherokee Bluff will not open subregion play until next week. No. 2 North Oconee is off but No. 5 Walnut Grove heads to Seckinger and Madison County travels to Cedar Shoals.

Buford and Dacula opened Region 8-7A last week with the two teams splitting a pair of games. Central Gwinnett, Collins Hill, Mill Creek, and Mountain View will begin on Monday. Buford heads to Mountain View, Central Gwinnett travels to Mill Creek, and Collins Hill plays host to Dacula.

Region 8-6A got underway last week with Lanier (3-0), North Forsyth (2-0), and Jackson County (2-0) having perfect starts. Habersham Central is 3-1 while Gainesville is 1-2 and Apalachee (0-4) and Shiloh (0-4) are looking for their first region wins. Hab Central will play host to Shiloh while Gainesville heads to Jackson County and Lanier plays host to Apalachee on Monday.

Region 8-5A had a very limited schedule with Jefferson and Winder-Barrow opening with wins and Flowery Branch and Clarke Central dripping their openers. They will continue on Monday as Branch plays host to Winder-Barrow, Jefferson travels to Clarke Central and Eastside and Loganville will open in Loganville.

In Region 8-A Division 1, Commerce, a state semifinalist last season, has jumped out to a quick 3-0 start after with a sweep of Barrow Arts & Sciences Academy. Athens Christian is 1-0, Elbert County 2-1, Tallulah Falls 1-2, and Rabun County 0-1. Commerce travels to Tallulah Falls on Tuesday while Rabun County plays host to Elbert County.

Towns County also is off to a solid 3-0 start after sweeping Georgia School for Innovation & Classics (GSIC). Lake Oconee Academy is 3-1, Washington-Wilkes 2-1, with Lincoln County and Aquinas  both at 1-2. Towns County will play host to Washington-Wilkes on Tuesday with Aquinas traveling to Lake Oconee and Lincoln heading to GSIC.

(Check below for the full schedule of baseball games on Monday involving area teams.)


HIGH SCHOOL BASEBALL SCHEDULE
(All games start at 5:55 p.m. unless otherwise noted)

Monday, March 13
Buford at Mountain View*
Cherokee Bluff at Morgan County
Chestatee at East Hall*
Gainesville at Jackson County*
Jefferson at Clarke Central*
Lumpkin County at West Hall*
North Hall at East Forsyth*
Pope at North Forsyth
Shiloh at Habersham Central*
Winder-Barrow at Flowery Branch*

(* -- denotes region contest)

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