High School Baseball
Weather continues to cause teams to scramble
by Doug Gorman
Newnan baseball coach Marc Gilmore might have said it best Thursday night when asked about all the games his team has missed and still has to make up because of the weather.
“Mother Nature must not like us,” he said.
There is good reason for Gilmore to feel that way.
While inclimate weather has forced several rainouts this spring for all five of the county’s varsity baseball programs, Newnan’s luck with weather has been anything but good.
Already facing a backlog of five games in six days heading into Friday, a full day of rain added two more makeups to the Cougars’ list.
They now include the third and final game of their Region 3-AAAAAA series with rival East Coweta.
The region-leading Indians, who have an equally important three game series left with a stingy Westlake program, now are facing four games next week as is Northgate after having a Region 4-AAAAA contest with Mt. Zion-Jonesboro postponed.
The Vikings are in the middle of a fierce battle for a potential state playoff berth. Six teams —led by Whitewater (14-2) and Starr’s Mill (12-3) are in the hunt for four spots with four games remaining on the schedule.
Union Grove and Northgate both enter next week with 11-5 region records while tied for third place while McIntosh (9-6) and Ola (8-7) remain in contention.
In addition to its rainout from Friday, Newnan, however, also has another rainout from today’s rescheduled game against Westlake (from yet another previous cancelation during spring break).
The Cougars now face a potential schedule of six games over the final week of the regular season.
It’ll result in some definite challenges with the schedule.
Since the GHSA forbids games on Sundays, a region doubleheader may be needed somewhere for the Cougars unless the GHSA grants teams an extra day or two to finish the regular season.
The association granted basketball programs such an opportunity this winter due to cancellations from Atlanta’s harsh ice storms.
Instead playing Westlake today, the Cougars will have to continue a series with the Lions on Tuesday.
The teams previously played on March 19 in a 5-3 victory by Westlake at Newnan.
The Cougars expect to face four region opponents over six days with games left to be played against Westlake (2), Langston Hughes (3), Douglas County (1) and East Coweta (1) while currently sitting in third place.
East Coweta enters this week with a comfortable lead atop the Region 3-AAAAAA standings at 11-0. The Indians magic number to clinch the 3-AAAAAA title is two with a final three-game series left against Westlake (8-2), which sits one game ahead of Newnan (5-3) in second place.
In addition to weather concerns, both East Coweta and Newnan are at the mercy of Westlake’s home-field issues. The Lions are playing their games off campus at Bill Evans Field, home of Clark Atlanta University with three trips scheduled this week to the facility, two by the Indians on Monday and Thursday.
The Cougars open Monday at home against Langston Hughes. The series with the Panthers — weather permitting, fingers crossed, etc. — finishes up on Wednesday and Thursday .
Newnan also has a single game with Douglas County at home on Friday to close that region series before traveling to East Coweta to end a hectic week.
East Coweta head coach Franklin DeLoach said there is some frustration, trying to get in all of these games at the last minute.
“Some of this could have been avoided,” DeLoach said. “There is no way you can predict the weather, but it is risky trying to make up region games the last week, because you don’t know what is going to happen. Hopefully, in the future we can avoid this.”
Douglas County and Tri-Cities, who play three times this week, are also fighting for the fourth and final Region 3-AAAAA playoff spot.
“We have already talked with everybody and made sure we are on the same page when it comes to the standings,” DeLoach said.
When Newnan resumes play against Westlake, it will be coming off a heartbreaking 10-6 loss to East Coweta in a game that went eight innings.
It was the second loss to the Indians in as many days.
However, Newnan had its chances to win the game even taking a 3-0 lead with Tanner Snellgrove pitching a gem and facing the minimum through the first three innings.
“This was a playoff atmosphere,” Gilmore said. “We had a our chances. It seems like everybody they put runners in scoring position, Bryce Gemmel and Matt Meyer came up to the bat, and they are two quality hitters. It is always really tough to get them out. Give them credit, every time we scored they answered.”
Gilmore is confident his team is going to respond to next week’s hectic schedule.
“We know we don’t control our own destiny, but We can still play at home in the first round, we just have to go out and win some of these remaining games,” Gilmore said.
Region 3-AAAAAA isn’t the only region scrambling to get in games over the next week.
Northgate was scheduled to play at Region 4-AAAAA contest today at Mt. Zion, but the contest was rained out.
Now, Northgate has four games left to complete its regular season.
In addition to the makeup with the Bulldogs, the Vikings have games Monday at home with Drew, at Mundy’s Mill on Wednesday and at Creekside on Friday.
In GISA action, The Heritage School’s had today’s doubleheader with Bethlehem Christian rained out.
The Hawks return to Region 1-AAA play on Tuesday while hosting Loganville Christian while Trinity Christian travels to Dominion.