Only Hebron Christian Academy stands in the way in the semifinals, and the Eagles will play host to the Lions today in a best-of-three game series with the third-game being decided Tuesday if necessary.
Mount Paran is one of two Cobb County baseball teams still playing and the other team is about a mile away.
Kennesaw Mountain is gunning for a spot in the state finals for the first time since 2007 and will be playing at Class AAAAAA defending state Milton in the quarterfinals starting Tuesday.
Both teams have swept their respective opponents to make it this far and have relied on solid starting pitching.
But Mount Paran coach Kyle Reese said it’s been more than just starting pitching that’s helped the Eagles.
“We’ve been consistent all year from the beginning of the season until now,” Reese said. “We’ve been solid since Day 1. It’s been a real consistent effort. We’ve had timely hitting and consistent pitching all year long.”
Mount Paran (27-3) will have to maintain its consistent play against Hebron. Reese said the Lions are solid defensively, they rarely strike out and their pitchers don’t walk many batters.
“We have to do what we did all year to beat them,” Reese said. “They will play fundamental baseball.”
Andrew Maxwell and Jake Palomaki has been at the top of the rotation for Mount Paran Christian with Landon Faulkner also producing. Faulkner had 11 strikeouts to help Mount Paran beat Savannah Christian 6-4 in the first game of its quarterfinal series before the Eagles dominated 14-2 in the nightcap.
Palomaki and Faulkner also did their share of hitting against Savannah Christian. Palomaki homered in Game 1, while Faulkner’s big RBI single helped break open Game 2. Taylor Trammell’s three-run home run in the sixth inning of the first game ended up being the difference and Isaac Phillips has also gotten big hits.
Just like Kennesaw Mountain, Milton has swept its way into the quarterfinal round.
It may be tough for the Mustangs (22-6) to come through with a sweep over Milton, and the Region 4AAAAAA champions will have to take care of business on the road for the first time.
Pitching will be key for the Mustangs. Coach George Hansen couldn’t be reached for comment but Ryley Gilliam will likely be the Game 1 starting pitcher and Chase Slone will take the mound in Game 2.
Reggie Pruitt had a huge second-round series against Tift County, going 6-for-8 at the plate including a perfect 4-for-4 in Game 2, where he was a triple away from hitting for the cycle. Garrett Blinkhorn was also clutch, going 2-for-4 with three RBIs in the second game, which Kennesaw Mountain won 15-1 in five innings.
BASEBALL PLAYOFF SCHEDULE Class A Private State Semifinals
Hebron Christian (23-7) at Mount Paran Christian (27-3)
Today 2 p.m. (DH)
Tuesday TBA (if nec.)
Class AAAAAA State Quarterfinals
Kennesaw Mountain (24-6) at Milton (23-7)
Tuesday 4:30 p.m. (DH)
Wednessday 6 p.m. (if nec.)