Friday May 24th, 2024 8:45AM

Baseball: Region 8-4A opens play-in series on Tuesday

By Jeff Hart Sports Reporter

Region 8-4A has one more piece of unfinished business before it can officially fill in its four teams in the upcoming Class 4A playoff bracket.

The region will conduct its play-in round, which will be a crossover series of three best-of-three games between the top three teams in each subregion. All three series begin on Tuesday with doubleheaders, with Game 3s, if necessary, set for Wednesday.

However, we already know the top two teams, as subregion winners Cherokee Bluff (North) and Seckinger (South) will square off for the region title and the No. 1 seed. Both teams have already qualified for the state playoffs. The loser will get the No. 2 seed and home field in the first round of the playoffs.

What we don't know are the other two spots. Four teams will duke it out beginning Tuesday. North Hall, the No. 2 seed from the North subregion, will play host to South No. 3 seed Walnut Grove to open their series while South No. 2 seed North Oconee will play host to North No. 3 seed East Forsyth.

The third- and fourth-place spots will be determined by the winners of the North Hall-Walnut Grove and East Forsyth-North Oconee series' with the No. 3 seed being determined by the winner of those two teams' one crossover game during the regular season. The losers of the series are eliminated from postseason play.

All three series offer some interesting storylines.

The North Oconee-East Forsyth series is intriguing as the Titans, the two-time defending Class 4A state champions, saw their coach, Jay Lasley, resign last week to take a job with the Miami Marlins as part of that organization's international player development team in the Dominican Republic. They beat East Forsyth earlier in the season, but the Broncos were the only team in the region to take two games from Bluff. They also beat both Seckinger and North Hall during the regular season.

North Hall, meanwhile, dropped its only meeting with Walnut Grove early in the season. Cherokee Bluff and Seckinger did not get to play their one scheduled crossover game this season due to a rainout. It will be the first meeting between the two teams since 2023.

(Best-of-3 series)

Tuesday, April 16
Championship series
Cherokee Bluff at Seckinger (DH), 4:30 p.m.

3rd & 4th place series
East Forsyth at North Oconee (DH), 5 p.m.
Walnut Grove at North Hall (DH), 4:30 p.m.

Wednesday, April 17
Championship series (Game 3, if necessary)
Seckinger at Cherokee Bluff, 6 p.m.

3rd & 4th place series (Game 3, if necessary)
North Hall at Walnut Grove, 6 p.m.
North Oconee at East Forsyth, 6 p.m.

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