Baseball's second round full of deja vu

Each team that qualifies for the state high school baseball playoff attempts to etch its name into history.

There is definitely a sense of history with matchups involving Gwinnett County teams as the second round gets under way with doubleheaders this afternoon.

Among those series, the most intriguing is between Parkview and Lassiter, who begin a best-of-three with a doubleheader at 4:30 p.m. at Hugh Buchanan Field.

It will be the fourth time in the last decade the Panthers (25-3) and Trojans (20-8) have met in the postseason.

Each of the previous three meetings have produced their share of memorable moments -- from Jeff Francoeur's "Superman" performances that helped the Panthers subdue Lassiter during state championship campaigns of 2001 and 2002, to Robby O'Bryan's walk-off grand slam in Game 3 of the semifinals, which propelled the Trojans to the 2005 title.

Both coaches have seen it all.

Parkview coach Chan Brown served as an assistant to Hugh Buchanan in the '01 and '02 series before becoming head coach prior to the 2005 season. Scott Kelly is in his first season at the helm after serving as an assistant to longtime Lassiter coach Mickey McMurtry for 10 years.

"It's been a fun series over the years. We're looking forward to it," Brown said. "(Kelly has) done a great job with them this year. It will be fun.

"The bottom line is, to have a chance to win (the state title), you're going to have to beat good (teams) no matter what round. Every round presents its own challenge."

Perhaps no one understands that sentiment better than Wesleyan coach Mike Shaheen and his Wolves (20-7).

They face perhaps the most difficult second-round matchup of any local team when they welcome Landmark Christian (27-1) to Donn Gaebelein Field at 5 p.m. today for a Class A second-round series with its own history.

The two met in last year's finals, with Wesleyan winning in a stirring three-game series, and a Region 5-A tiebreaker -- which relegated the War Eagles to the No. 2 seed behind co-champion Walker -- has led to what some observers figure to be a premature rematch.

However, Shaheen says he and his players are trying to look at the matchup with a sense of perspective, rather than misfortune.

"At first thought, it's not right," Shaheen said about the prospect of two of the state's top teams meeting in such an early round. "But when you really think about it, it's an awesome series. The thought of these teams not playing (at all) wouldn't be right either. It's much of the same cast for both teams, and it should be exciting."

Indeed, many of the central figures in last year's series -- such as Wesleyan's Devin Stanton, Kevin O'Leary and Conor Welton, and Landmark's Kyle Wren, Colby Wren and Jonathan Roberts -- are back to do battle again.

Likewise, several familiar faces will square off in another Class AAAAA series when North Gwinnett (17-11) travels to Acworth to take on North Cobb (20-9), a rematch of a 2008 first-round series won by the Warriors in two games.

One series that won't have any history behind it is the Class A series between Hebron Christian and Providence Christian, which gets under way at 1:30 p.m. at Lion Field in Dacula.

Despite being located less than 18 miles apart, the Lions (25-2) and Stars (16-12) have never met.

"I really don't know much about them," Providence head coach Adam Cantrell said. "They're such a mystery. I've been trying to get good scouting reports, but it's tough to get when they've been run-ruling everybody they've played.

"I know they're good and they've got the ability to score a lot of runs. Hopefully, my guys will show up and play their best."

Other second-round series involving area teams today include Mill Creek at Etowah and Harrison at Collins Hill in Class AAAAA and Buford at Pike County in Class AA.