Baseball playoffs: Jefferson, Dawson Co. open playoffs at home; 3 others start on the road Tuesday

By Jeff Hart Sports Reporter
Posted 8:03AM on Tuesday 23rd April 2024 ( 2 months ago )

The 2024 Georgia High School Association baseball playoffs get underway beginning on Tuesday, with Classes 5A, 3A, and Class A Divisions 1 and 2 across the state and northeast Georgia.

The rest of the classifications (7A, 6A, 4A, and 2A) will start on Thursday.

Five area teams will be in action on Tuesday in best-of-three series, with doubleheaders set for Tuesday and a deciding Game 3s, if necessary, scheduled for Wednesday.

Jefferson (15-13) comes into its Class 5A showdown with Midtown (16-11) as the No. 2 seed from Region 8-5A and was just one inning from capturing a region title in a gut-wrenching loss to Loganville on the final day of region play. The Dragons finished strong after a 2-6 start and coach Kyle Hardy said pitching has been at the center of their late-season surge.

“Our pitching staff has been really good down the stretch,” he said. “We graduated 11 seniors last year. As guys have gained more experience and gotten comfortable, we have played at a really competitive level.

“We started the season with a lot of guys with no varsity experience. Also, we scheduled a tough non-region schedule because we knew how tough our region would be.”

Hardy said nothing will change as they get set for the Knights, who won 9 of their last 11 games over the final month of the season.

“The key to winning in the first round will be quality starts from our starting pitchers and dominating routine plays on defense,” he said. “If we do this with some timely hitting, we can be successful. At this point in the season, everybody is 0-0, and our kids are excited for the opportunity to go out and compete.”

Dawson County (16-10) will also be at home to open the playoffs, taking on seventh-ranked Bremen (20-8) in a doubleheader on Tuesday. The Tigers finished second in Region 7-3A, while the Blue Devils, despite the 20 wins, finished third in a brutal Region 6-3A behind No. 5 Ringgold and Gordon Lee.

Tigers coach Logan Burt knows they will have their hands full but said the little things could have the biggest impacts.

“Bremen is a good program. They’ve got a good team with some really good players,” Burt said. “But the team that can make the routine plays, throw consistent strikes, and get the big hits will be the team that wins this series. This time of year, every detail matters, so we are just trying to dominate the details and control what we can control.”

Pitching is paramount, and the Tigers are yielding 5.6 runs/game. They will face a Blue Devils offense that scored the most runs of any team in 6-3A (193, 6.89 runs/game). They will have to find a way to improve on those numbers in a short series.

“I think the key for us is going back to filling up the strike zone consistently,” Burt said. “We are really good when we are in the zone, and I’ve challenged our guys to get back to that.”

Also, in Class 5A, Flowery Branch faces an interesting road trip to Jackson-Atlanta (22-6). The Falcons (13-14) played one of the toughest non-region schedules in the classification and also went 2-2 vs. Jefferson and defending state champion Loganville in region play. Jackson-Atlanta dropped three straight over the final week leading up to the playoffs.

(See the entire schedule for Tuesday and Wednesday's first-round playoff games below.)

1st ROUND BASEBALL PLAYOFFS, Tuesday, April 23
(Best-of-3 series at higher seed; all DH)

Midtown (Region 5, Seed 3) at Jefferson (R8, S2), 5 p.m.
Flowery Branch (R8, S3) at Jackson-ATL (R5, S2), 4:30 p.m.

Bremen (R6, S3) at Dawson County (R7, S2), 4:30 p.m.

CLASS A Division 1
Commerce (R8, S4) at Prince Avenue Christian (R5, S1), 4 p.m.

CLASS A Division 2
Towns County (R8, S3) at Glascock County (R5, S2), 5 p.m.

1st ROUND BASEBALL PLAYOFFS, Wednesday, April 24
(Best-of-3 series at higher seed; Game 3, if necessary)

Midtown (Region 5, Seed 3) at Jefferson (R8, S2), 7:30 p.m.
Flowery Branch (R8, S3) at Jackson-ATL (R5, S2), 7 p.m.

Bremen (R6, S3) at Dawson County (R7, S2), 4:30 p.m.

CLASS A Division 1
Commerce (R8, S4) at Prince Avenue Christian (R5, S1), 6 p.m.

CLASS A Division 2
Towns County (R8, S3) at Glascock County (R5, S2), 5 p.m.

Jefferson will open the 2024 playoffs at home on Tuesday against Midtown.

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