It's pretty safe to assume Gwinnett County's teams won't be quite as successful in the second round of the state high school baseball playoffs as it was in the first.
There are two good reasons for that as the second round gets under way with doubleheaders this afternoon.
For one thing, the success rate couldn't get a whole lot better than the first round, when 10 of Gwinnett's 12 teams advanced.
"It's pretty exciting for Gwinnett baseball," said Parkview coach Chan Brown, whose Panthers (21-7) welcome North Gwinnett to Hugh Buchanan Field for a doubleheader today beginning at 4:30 p.m. "Especially with six (Class) AAAAA teams still in it, I think it speaks for itself."
In addition, the county is guaranteed to lose at least two teams in the second round as two of the Class AAAAA series will pit Gwinnett teams against each other.
In addition to the Parkview-North series, Mill Creek will play host to Dacula in a neighborhood battle beginning with a doubleheader at Fathers Field today at 4:30 p.m.
There's always a lot of intensity when the Hawks (22-6) and Falcons (18-10) get together in any sport, and this series should be no exception, with a big crowd expected.
"I'm sure (Mill Creek athletics director Gary) Long wasn't crying about (playing Dacula). From an A.D.'s standpoint, it's a big gate," Mill Creek coach Doug Jones joked. "The kids grew up together, go to church together, they see each other a lot. So, yeah, it creates a lot of excitement."
Likewise, Parkview and North (16-13) have a bit of history. Today's doubleheader will mark the third time the Panthers and Bulldogs have met in the postseason in the last six season, with Parkview getting the sweep in 2006 and North returning the favor in 2009.
But as Brown pointed out, both teams' focus will be more on the present, rather than the past.
"We knocked them out ... three years before (the last meeting in 2009)," Brown said. "So, we do have a history. (North coach) Frank (Vashaw) does a great job over there, and honestly, I'm glad we're playing North because of the Gwinnett thing. Nothing against Etowah (which North beat in the first round), but (an all-Gwinnett matchup) does add something."
Gwinnett's two remaining Class AAAAA teams will be on the road, with Brookwood traveling to Lassiter at 4:30 p.m., while Duluth heads to Alpharetta, also at 4:30.
Class AA will produce another matchup familiar to Gwinnett fans, with Buford playing host to Calhoun at 3 p.m. The Wolves (23-3) and Yellow Jackets have met for the state football title in Class AA the last three seasons, while the two schools' softball teams have also squared off for a state title in the last few years.
In Class A, three-time (two in Class A) state champion Wesleyan (21-7) and Hebron Christian (25-3) could be on a collision course for a state quarterfinal meeting, but will have to get by tough second-round opponents, with the Wolves traveling to Darlington and the Lions hosting Holy Innocents'.
Meanwhile, Providence Christian (20-8) will also have its hands full by hosting George Walton Academy.