The heavy rain in the area last week has created a logjam of baseball for Hardaway and LaGrange.
The teams were scheduled to play last Thursday at Hardaway and Friday at LaGrange. But rain and soggy field conditions at both schools forced postponements. They even planned to play Saturday at Hardaway, but too much rain had fallen for the teams to be able to safely play on Hardaway’s field.
The result: They will try to play this week, Tuesday at LaGrange and Friday at Hardaway. No problem, right? Well, both teams have three other games this week, the final one of the regular season. The state playoffs begin April 29, so all these games must be played this week.
At least the weather forecast calls for sunny skies through Thursday.
“Not planned, not wanted, but it is how it is,” Hardaway coach Chris Gilstrap said Saturday. “We have to get them all in.”
While all five games are important for the two teams, which are tied at 7-6 for the fourth and final Region 1-5A playoff berth, it is the games against one another that have added significance.
In case the teams end this marathon week tied, head-to-head record would be used to break the tie. With LaGrange having beat Hardaway earlier this season — 3-2 in eight innings on March 22 — the Hawks need to sweep LaGrange this week to own the tiebreaker.
“We are focusing on the series with LaGrange,” Gilstrap said. “It is not the only possibility, but whether we make it or not will likely depend on how we do against LaGrange.”
One of Hardaway’s concerns all season is a lack of depth. The Hawks have used three pitchers — Mykel Page, Chandler Griggs and Jonathan Manibusan — for a vast majority of their innings.
“When you don’t have depth, it makes it difficult. But we will have guys that will step up,” Gilstrap said.
“We got three guys who have pitched the majority of our games, and the idea they could come back after their start is slim. It is going to take some guts and grit. You will have some people out there who don’t have much experience, but we have confidence in them as well.”
Northside clinched the region title with its win over Columbus on Friday. Columbus is currently second at 11-5 and Harris County is third at 10-5.
▪ In Region 2-3A, Jordan and Kendrick are in a battle for the final playoff berth. Kendrick begins the week a game ahead of Jordan. The Cherokees have two games left against Peach County, while Jordan plays two against Southwest-Macon.
If the teams finish in a tie, Jordan owns the tiebreaker.
▪ In AHSAA Area 3-7A, Central and Smiths Station meet in the baseball version of the Backyard Brawl.
Central has already clinched a playoff berth. The Red Devils can clinch the area title with a one win against Smiths Station this week. Smiths Station can win the area with a sweep and can make the playoffs with a split.
▪ Glenwood begins play in the AISA region playoffs on Thursday with a doubleheader against Morgan Academy.
Region 1-5A standings
The top four teams will advance to the state playoffs, which start April 29.
Northside (1) — at Shaw, April 18
Columbus (2) — at Hardaway, April 20, Hardaway, April 21
Harris County (3) — at Hardaway, April 18, LaGrange, April 20; at LaGrange, April 21
Hardaway (5) — Harris County, April 18; at LaGrange, April 19; Columbus, April 20, at Columbus, April 21; LaGrange, April 22
LaGrange (5) — Carver, April 18; Hardaway, April 19; at Harris County, April 20; Harris County, April 21; at Hardaway, April 22
Shaw (3) — Northside, April 18; Carver, April 20, at Carver, April 21
Carver (3) — at LaGrange, April 18; at Shaw, April 20; Shaw, April 21