The state baseball playoffs begin Friday with 96 best-of-three-games series. Here is a class-by-class look at some of the teams to beat.
AAAAAA: Parkview (20-6) is seeking to become the first school since Evans (1988-90) to win three straight championships in the highest classification. The Panthers have won Region 8 and nine straight games since a Florida showcase tournament over spring break.
AAAAA: Region 8 rivals Loganville (22-4) and Gainesville (22-3) are nationally ranked and perhaps Georgia’s best teams in any class. Loganville won state titles in 2008 and 2012 and has Georgia-signee Clint Frazier (.521, 13 HR), a potential national player of the year. But Loganville has lost twice to Gainesville, whose ace pitcher, junior Michael Gettys, also has signed with Georgia and will play in an All-America game this summer.
AAAA: Crisp County (22-4) has won 14 straight games (nine by shutout) and is 15-0 against AAAA teams. Crisp last won a state title in baseball in 1961. Second-ranked Marist (19-7) has lost only once in the classification and beat 2012 champion Columbus (18-9) 5-4 last week.
AAA: Top-ranked Blessed Trinity (22-4) could win its first state title since 2006. The Titans haven’t lost to a AAA team in Georgia and beat Marist 8-0 last month. Recent state champions Cartersville, Buford and Appling County also must be reckoned with.
AA: Top-ranked Jefferson (23-2) has won 14 straight games. Buckhead rivals Westminster (18-8) and Lovett (19-7) are ranked No. 2 and 3. Westminster swept the season series and won Region 6-AA, but Lovett had several impressive wins over non-region teams.
A: The public-private split is good news for the public side, which has not had a state champion since Clinch County in 2003. Gordon Lee (23-2) and Charlton County (23-2) – schools some 400 miles apart – are the public teams to beat. On the private side, George Walton Academy (25-1) beat Eagle’s Landing Christian (22-2) 6-1 on April 22 in what could be a state finals preview.
State baseball tournament
When: First round is Friday. State finals are May 25-27.
Where: Site of the higher seed.
Format: Each round is a best-of-three series with a doubleheader schedule on the first day with an if-necessary game the next day.
2012 champions: Parkview (AAAAA), Loganville (AAAA), Columbus (AAA), Appling County (AA), Providence Christian (A).
2013 No. 1-ranked teams: McEachern (AAAAAA), Gainesville (AAAAA), Crisp County (AAAA), Blessed Trinity (AAA), Jefferson (AA), George Walton Academy (A private), Gordon Lee (A public).