With a week to go in the regular season, defending Class AAAA state champion Marist was facing the possibility of missing the state playoffs.
The War Eagles were in fifth place in Region 6-AAAA and had three games against teams that had beaten them earlier in the season. The top four teams in each region advance to state. Marist, however, turned the tables and defeated Miller Grove, Southwest DeKalb and Redan to claim the No. 1 seed from the region heading into the first round of the state playoffs.
Marist (14-11-1) is one of seven teams in DeKalb County to qualify for the state playoffs. The other three teams to qualify from 6-AAAA are Dunwoody, Redan and Chamblee. St. Pius is the No. 1 seed from 5-AAA and Arabia Mountain earned a berth as the fourth seed. Also, Paideia played in the Class A preliminary round April 30 but was eliminated.
The War Eagles won five consecutive region games at the end of the season to climb to the top. Marist defeated Miller Grove 13-2, Southwest DeKalb 7-6 and Redan 6-3 in games April 23-27. The wins gave the War Eagles their ninth region championship since 2000.
Sean Guenther pitched a four-hitter with eight strikeouts to beat Miller Grove. In the nine-inning win over Southwest, Griffin Davis scored the winning run when Michael Toner reached first base on a throwing error by the Panthers. Davis went 3 for 3 against Redan, including a home run in the second inning.
Dunwoody, which had lost to Southwest DeKalb and Chamblee in games April 13-19, earned a forfeit win over Douglass, then defeated Carver-Atlanta 11-1 on April 23 and Mays 12-2 on April 25 to lock up the second spot in the region.
Josh Shailer had two hits and two RBIs against Carver, while Jared Martin had two doubles and four RBIs in the win over Mays. James Cunningham also had two hits and Charlie Madden hit a home run.
Each round of the state tournament is a best-of-three format with a double-header played on the first day and the deciding game, if necessary, played the next day. Here are the first-round matchups for DeKalb teams:
Class AAAA (May 4-5)—Villa Rica at Marist; Pope at Dunwoody; Redan at East Paulding; Chamblee at Alexander.
Class AAA (May 4-5)—LaGrange at St. Pius; Arabia Mountain at Columbus.