Blessed Trinity finished the 2018 season undefeated against Georgia teams. They had lost a couple out-of-state games vs. some of the toughest competition in the nation, but otherwise, appeared to be the team to beat in the state of Georgia. Most recently, they were even ranked the #1 high school team in the nation. After a frustrating — and thrilling — three game state championship last year, Blessed Trinity was ready to get revenge and bring home the title in 2018.
That would not be so, as the Jefferson Dragons, region 8-AAAA champions, would take down the Titans in just two games — a 10-7 slugfest in game one and a 2-0 shutout in game two. We saw the first signs of potential weakness from Blessed Trinity when they dropped their first in-state matchup of the year in the quarterfinals vs. Columbus. They would eventually pull out a hard fought 2-1 series victory over the region 1 two seed.
It’s been an even harder fought battle through the GHSA playoffs for Jefferson. It took them all of three games to take down four-seeded Chestatee in the first round before struggling with Woodward in the quarterfinal round — which would also require three games to settle. Then, after three tough series, they would have to get through the buzzsaw that has been Blessed Trinity. We were all expecting a good matchup between these two teams in the semifinals, but never imagined we’d see Jefferson take it so easily from the #1 ranked team in the nation, which seemed destined to return to the class AAAA finals.
Instead, it will be Jefferson who will take on Cartersville at State Mutual Stadium, home of the Rome Braves. The first two games of the best-of-three are slated for May 21st with a third game on May 23rd, if necessary.
That just goes to show — when the playoffs start, all bets are off. All it takes is a hot streak (or cold snap) at the right time to create a miracle run or a disappointing finish.
Here’s a look at the championship matchups from the other classes:
- AAAAAAA: Parkview takes down Woodstock in three games while Mill Creek takes down Brookwood in three to setup an all-Gwinnett championship between Parkview and Mill Creek. The matchup will take place May 22nd (and 23rd, if necessary) at Foley Field in Athens.
- AAAAAA: Pope takes down River Ridge in two games to advance. They’ll face the winner of Alpharetta and Allatoona (which has been postponed due to rain). Allatoona took game one, 5-2. Pope will face the winner of the Alpharetta/Allatoona series in Rome on May 22nd (23rd, if necessary).
- AAAAA: The highly touted Loganville Red Devils (alma mater of Yankees prospect, Clint Frazier) takes down Starr’s Mill in two games to advance. They’ll face two-seed Buford who has tore through top-ranked competition, including their neighbors, Flowery Branch, in the semifinal round. Loganville and Buford will face off at Foley Field on May 21st (23rd, if necessary).
- AAA: Lovett downs Morgan County in two games, by a combined score of 24-4, while Westminister defeats Ringgold in two close matchups. Lovett and Westminister will face off at Mercer beginning May 21st (23rd, if necessary).
- AA: Berrien downs Jeff Davis in three games, while Benedictine takes two straight games after dropping game one to Callaway. Jeff Davis and Benedictine face off May 21st (23rd, if necessary) in Savannah for the AA state finals.
- A Public: Gordon Lee defeats Bowdon in two games. Irwin County and Telfair County are still in action (games postponed due to rain), but Telfair leads Irwin one game-to-none. The winners face off May 22nd (23rd, if necessary) in Savannah.
- A Private: It took three games, but Prince Avenue took town highly ranked statewide powerhouse, Holy Innocents in a thrilling series. First Presbyterian Day School and Tattnall Square are still awaiting the start of their series. The winners will face off May 22nd (23rd, if necessary) in Macon.