0

Rain forces delay in baseball playoffs

STATE BASEBALL

Game 3, first round series

Monday

Class AAAAAA

6 p.m. — Etowah at Parkview

6 p.m. — Roswell at Grayson

6:30 p.m. — Brookwood at Milton

7 p.m. — South Gwinnett at Walton

7 p.m. — Alpharetta at Mill Creek

7 p.m. — West Forsyth at Peachtree Ridge

Class AAA

6 p.m. — St. Pius X at Buford

Class AA

4 p.m. — GAC at Pepperell

An already narrow window to squeeze in the opening round of the state high school baseball playoffs got narrower with Saturday's widespread rain over much of Georgia.

Games involving eight Gwinnett County teams were among several deciding third games in first-round series that were postponed by the wet weather Saturday.

Only Providence Christian -- playing in a third and deciding game against Savannah Christian in coastal Georgia, where the weather was considerably better -- was able to take the field Saturday.

Everyone else will have to wait until Monday, when they will try again, though the prospect of playing isn't much better, with a 50 percent chance of thundershowers forecast, which could even push some games back to Tuesday.

Even if games are played Monday, it will make for a very short turnaround for the winning team, with the second round set to begin Wednesday.

"It is what it is," said Brookwood coach Rick Howard, whose Broncos (16-12) travel to Milton for Game 3 of its series with the Eagles on Monday at 6:30 p.m. "Of course, if you took care of business Friday, you don't have to worry about (the short turnaround). It's a catch-22. Want to get some people some rest, but you've got to win. That's how it goes."

In some cases, the teams involved in the second round will be in the same situation, with the winners of Monday's scheduled games in the Parkview vs. Etowah and Peachtree Ridge vs. West Forsyth series and the Mill Creek-Alpharetta and Grayson-Roswell series set to play each other in the next round.

The same won't be true for the Brookwood-Milton or South Gwinnett-Walton winners, which will each be matched up with second-round opponents that swept first-round series on Friday.

One of those opponents is Norcross (19-9), which took care of Johns Creek on Friday and awaits the South-Walton winner.

But Blue Devils coach Jonathan Wyman says the break has both its advantages and drawbacks.

"Is it always good to have a few days off to rest? Yes, for pitchers," Wyman said. "But for the position players, it's nice to keep them going. Hopefully, we can get out (on the field) Monday and have a quick practice, and then get out to Walton to watch South Gwinnett play them.

"That's the big thing. It's more of an advantage from a scouting standpoint. You get a chance to see both (potential opponents)."

One advantage most of the local teams scheduled to play Monday have is that they won't have to travel very far, either by hosting the game or having only to travel somewhere else in the northern metro Atlanta area.

The lone exception is Greater Atlanta Christian (13-14), which must hit the road to the northwest Georgia mountains to play Pepperell in a deciding game scheduled for 4 p.m. Monday.

While that may seem to be a disadvantage, Spartans coach Cliff Shelton has a different view.

"I'd actually rather be the road team," Shelton said. "You always want to play at home, but when the weather is bad, it's actually easier to go on the road and not have to worry about field preparation.

"You literally spend hours and hours raking (infields), spreading (drying agents) and pumping (water), and it might make you physically, mentally and emotionally exhausted."