A three-time defending state champion, two region champions and a team that will make its first postseason appearance since 2002.
The Georgia High School Association state baseball playoffs begin today as six local teams begin their quest for a state championship. The seven state champions -- Class A is split into private-school and public-school tournaments -- will be crowned over Memorial Day weekend.
Hardaway, which won a hotly contested three-way race for the Region 1-AAAAA title over Northside and Harris County, gets the postseason started today. It was Hardaway's first region title since 2005.
In all GHSA postseason series, it is a best-of-three format, with a doubleheader played the first day and the third game played the following day.
The Hawks will be hosting Northgate with first pitch scheduled for 2 p.m. The series was moved up a day because Northgate's prom is Saturday night.
All of the other series begin Friday.
Four teams made it from each of eight regions in each classification, so Northside and Harris County are also in the AAAAA playoffs.
Northside hosts Whitewater beginning at 4:30 p.m. Friday, while Harris County travels to McIntosh in Peachtree City for a 3 p.m. start.
Columbus High will begin its quest for a fourth straight state championship with a 2 p.m. Friday doubleheader against Lanier of Sugar Hill.
The Blue Devils defeated Carrollton in a five-inning mini-game to break a tie for first place in Region 5-AAAA.
Columbus has won 12 titles under Bobby Howard, all since 1983. The school is tied with Marist for most baseball titles in the state. Columbus and Marist are on opposite sides of the bracket, so they could meet in the finals.
Jordan is breaking the longest playoff drought of any of the local teams in this year's playoffs. The Red Jackets, who host Rabun County at 2 p.m. Friday, finished second in Region 5-AA and earned its first playoff berth in 11 years. This is the first time the Red Jackets have hosted a state playoff series since 1992.
"Oh, yeah, we're excited -- big time," Jordan coach Tony Dimitri said.
Jordan will be showing off some of the renovations done to their field prior to the season.
"We had a question about whether we wanted to play at Golden Park or play here (at Jordan), and I said flat out that we wanted to play it here," Dimitri said. "We're excited about it, and it gives us a chance to show the community what they've helped build. It's satisfying knowing how many people put something into it."
Brookstone is part of the private-school tournament in Class A. Even though public and private schools compete during the regular season, when it comes time for the postseason, they are split apart.
The Cougars host Kings Ridge at 2 p.m. Friday.
Meanwhile, the playoffs in Alabama move into the quarterfinal stage, where Russell County plays host to Marbury at 5:30 p.m. Friday.
The Warriors have not lost in two months, winning 32 straight games.
-- David Mitchell contributed to this report.