By Craig Sager II
In the Class A-Private championship, Eagle’s Landing Christian swept Mt. Paran to win its second state title, and first since 2006. In 2012 the Chargers ended the Mt. Paran Eagles’ season with a second-round sweep. This year it was the power hitting of ELCA that outmatched Mt. Paran. In the doubleheader Mt. Paran recorded nine hits, but only Isaac Phillips was able to go for extra bases. ELCA hit three homers and had two doubles in the two games. In Game 1 ELCA scored two runs with two outs to take a 3-0 lead. Sophomore Dazmon Cameron hit a solo shot to make it 4-0 in the fifth, and a wild pitch scored the final run in the sixth inning to make it 5-0. Mt. Paran scored in the seventh to make it 5-1 and had bases loaded with the tying run at the plate. Dalton Etheridge struck out Kyle Trammel, for his 10th strikeout of the game and the 5-1 decision in Game 1.
With a 1-0 lead in the series, freshman Cole Ganopulos took the mound for ELCA in Game 2 and allowed just five hits. Mt. Paran took an early lead in the third inning after a two-out single from Ryan Murphy that scored Landon Falkner. ELCA’s Jacob Heyward, brother of the Braves’ Jason, evened it up with a solo shot. Andrew Gomez and Etheridge singled and a two-out double by Cameron Ragsdale later in the inning made it a 2-1 advantage. D.J. Curl added to the lead in the fifth inning with a two-run homer to give them the 4-1 lead. This was all the run support needed by Ganopulos to finalize the sweep.
The Class A-Public champion is yet to be determined. Host Charlton County opened up Game 1 with an 11-3 win, but Gordon Lee was able to force the series split with a 10-4 win in Game 2. Leading up to Game 2, Charlton County held a 95-14 run advantage over its opponents in the postseason. Gordon Lee’s Conard Broom stifled the Indians’ bats allowing just two runs in his Game 2 start. Charlton County will have to protect its home field in order to avoid falling in the state title game for a second straight season.
Class AA-AAAAAA semifinal action begins today. In Class AAAAAA, Parkview hosts Milton in its best of three series. Parkview is looking to win a third straight state title this year. Milton is one of three teams from region 5-AAAAAA remaining in the Final Four. Region 5 rivals Roswell and host Walton are in the the second matchup. In Class AAAAA Greenbrier will attempt to return to the championship after losing to Loganville in the 2012 Class AAAA Finals. Greenbrier has gone on the road to defeat Richmond Hill, McIntosh and East Paulding this postseason. The Wolfpack will visit Whitewater for their next road test. Starr’s Mill visits Pope in the other semifinal matchup. Pope looks to carry the momentum of a 12-2 Game 3 win over Evans in the quarterfinals, and Starr’s Mill comes off a sweep over Loganville.
In Class AAAA, Troup upset Veterans in the quarterfinals and will visit Redan to start its best-of-three at 2 p.m. Both Marist and Crisp County remain undefeated in the 2013 playoffs and will square off at Crisp County at 4 p.m. In Class AAA, St. Pius X escaped Pike County in the quarterfinals and will travel to Cartersville to play for a spot in the Championship. Blessed Trinity has stayed perfect this postseason, and will visit North Hall, which comes off a big Game 3 road win over Pierce County. In Class AA, Lovett was shocked in its 11-0 Game 1 loss to Westside-Augusta in the quarterfinals. The Lions responded with a 6-3 win in Game 2 and a 12-1 victory in the deciding Game 3. Benedictine will host Lovett in the semis after a 4-3 Game 3 win over Wesleyan in the quarterfinals. After a brutal opening series against GAC that was pushed back on three different occasions due to weather, Pepperell has made quick work of its opponents, and swept its way into the semis. It will host Westminster who is 6-0 this postseason.