With all three squads owning veteran rosters, the trio of powerhouse programs are hoping homefield advantage and will provide them the boost they need to make a state championship run.
“There are a lot of things that have to go right for you to make it to the Championship, but having good team chemistry with good pitching, defense and timely hitting helps a lot,” said Johns Creek baseball coach Billy Nicholson, whose team went 18-7 en route to a 6AAAAAA championship and will host Norcross in the opening round of the AAAAAA tournament.
“It’s always nice to be at home and playing in front of your home crowd, but we know it’s going to be a challenge.”
Among the talented programs vying for a AAAAAA title will be Milton, who wrapped up their fourth straight region championship last week and — like Johns Creek — have spent the entire season in the state’s top 10.
“Winning the Region championship was a huge accomplishment for our program and community again this year,” said Milton baseball coach Joey Ray. “Having the No. 1 seed and being able to host a state playoff game is a huge advantage and it means a ton to our players.”
Ray’s team, who finished the season with an 18-6-1 record, may have the toughest draw of any No. 1 seed in round one as they face off with Brookwood — a perennial state power from 8AAAAAA that finished 2012 as AAAAA’s state runner-up.
“If we focus on what we do and do it well we can play with anyone,” said Ray.
Blessed Trinity (22-4 overall) cruised to a 6AAA championship this year and will enter the AAA state tournament as a favorite to win their first state championship since 2006.
Starting and ending the regular season as AAA’s No. 1 ranked team, the Titans are 20-2 against in-state competition and allowed just five runs in 14 games against AAA teams.
BT will host Dawson County in the round one.
Alpharetta, Roswell, King’s Ridge and Mount Pisgah are also making state playoff appearances this fall.
Roswell, the No. 3 seed from 5AAAAAA, will play at Grayson. Alpharetta, the No. 4 seed from 6AAAAAA, will play at Mill Creek.
King’s Ridge and Mount Pisgah will play in the Class A-Private school state playoffs — first round matchups were yet be determined at press time.
Each first round series will be played in a best-of-three format with a double-header played this Friday and a deciding third game played Saturday if necessary. Winning teams will move on to the Sweet 16, scheduled to be played May 8-9.