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Hot Rams to face defending state champ Parkview

For the first time since playing a varsity baseball schedule, Grayson missed the state playoffs last year.

It was a tough pill to swallow for a program that made eight straight postseason appearances.

"It was very humbling," Grayson coach Seth Rhine said. "I think more than anything they were embarrassed."

Grayson is ready to put that miserable season behind them. The Rams are off to a hot start this season and appear ready to start another playoff streak. They are ranked No. 8 in the state and will find out if they have a postseason caliber team tonight.

Grayson will play defending Class AAAAA champion and region foe Parkview tonight.

"We have a tremendous respect for everything they accomplished last year," Rhine said. "We look at it as a really big measuring stick."

Grayson is off to an 8-2 overall record and 2-0 in Region 8-AAAAA. Rhine credits his pitching for the early season success.

"I feel like our pitchers have done a good job throwing strikes," Rhine said. "When you throw strikes, our defense is very good."

Griffen Eble has been the strongest on the mound. The 6-foot-1, 165-pound senior has a 4-0 record and .8 ERA.

"He's worked and worked and put himself in position to be successful," Rhine said.

Juniors Casey Collins and Chris Erwin have also been solid on the mound.

Grayson's hot start is impressive when you consider the quality of wins it has this season. The Rams opened the year with a victory over perennial Class A power Wesleyan, took down regular Region 7 standout North Gwinnett and defeated three of the top teams in Florida, including nationally renowned Seminole.

The Rams average more than seven runs a game and have been led at the plate by junior standout Austin Meadows.

"He's having a good early season, which is not a surprise," Rhine said.

Jack Banda and Erwin are also swinging the bat well early in the season.

"One through nine in our lineup, they all add something to what we are trying to do offensively," Rhine said.

Grayson will try to continue its success against Parkview (7-2, 3-0), which is ranked No. 1 in the state.

"Every game we play is important. We can't look past anyone," Rhine said.

Parkview features some of the state's top players, including Daily Post Player of the Year Matt Olson and infielder/pitcher Jack Esmonde. Olson is headed to Vanderbilt and Esmonde to Georgia.

"There's no doubt Parkview is very, very good," Rhine said. "But we feel like we have the capability of being very good."