The Knights (13-9, 9-3) won their final two games against Pickens, but needed Cass to beat Cedartown at least once in the regular-season ending series. Instead, the Bulldogs swept despite winning the final two games by a run. Cedartown finished the regular season a game ahead of the Knights in the sub-region standing, although it lost to River Ridge twice.
Cedartown, which will automatically go to the state playoffs, will now play the other sub-region champion, Northwest Whitfield for the overall title. Meanwhile, River Ridge will play the No. 3 team from Region 7AAAA (B), Dalton, in order to qualify for the state playoffs. The Knights will host the first two games in a doubleheader tonight beginning at 5 p.m. If necessary, a third game will be played on Thursday. The winner of that series will be the No. 3 seed in the Class AAAA state playoffs, while the season will end for the loser.
River Ridge coach Scott Bradley understands there will be pressure for the Knights, but knows his team can only do so much.
“We can only control what we can control,” he said. “We took care of business at the end, but that could only take us so far. Now we need to take care of (Dalton tonight).”
The format is favorable for the Knights, who have played three-game series with each team in their sub-region this season and have not lost a series. They swept Gilmer, dropped the series opener against Pickens, lost the middle game against Cedartown and fell in the finale against Cass.
In other regions, teams are still vying for state playoff spots as the region season winds down this week.
Etowah (18-6, 6-5) is currently fourth in Region 5AAAAAA behind Milton, Roswell and Walton. The Eagles have the same region record as Lassiter and can’t afford to let up in its series against last-place Wheeler this week. Remaining on Lassiter’s schedule is Woodstock (13-9, 3-7), which along with Cherokee (7-14, 3-7) and Wheeler have already been mathematically eliminated on playoff contention.
Etowah also has a game to make up against Milton, which could decide the season.
In Region 7AAAAA, Sequoyah is chasing Sprayberry for the region title. The Chiefs (15-9, 12-6) are just a game behind the Yellow Jackets. Creekview is currently in third—half a game ahead of Pope and a game ahead of Northview.
Sequoyah suffered a tough loss on Saturday against Pope in a game that had been postponed a day because of rain. The Chiefs now have just two games to play—hosting Osborne tonight and at Creekview on Thursday. If Sequoyah has a shot at the region title, Sprayberry would need to lose its final two region games—against Cambridge and at Kell. Because the Yellow Jackets beat Sequoyah twice earlier this year, should the teams finish with the same region record, Sprayberry would have the tie-breaker.
Creekview (13-8, 10-5) plays at Pope tonight and hosts Sequoyah on Thursday. The Grizzlies still need to make up a game against North Springs, which was rained out last week.
Creekview coach Mike Nayman said that weather has been problematic all season and hopes it gets better as the week goes on. Should the Grizzlies need to, they can play games on both Friday and Saturday this week and still complete the regular season before the deadline set by the Georgia High School Association. With one game already needing to be made up, Creekview could afford to postpone just one more before it finds itself in a complicated situation.
Creekview attempted to make up its game with Northview on Saturday and again on Tuesday, but rain prevented it both times. The Grizzlies were able to complete a game against Forsyth Central on Monday.
“The region has done a pretty good job of making up games with the next available date,” Nayman said. “Non-region games and J.V. games have been kind of secondary and I think that has helped make things up, so that we didn’t get backed up. Until now, we have gotten our games in.”