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North Hall, Flowery Branch and Cherokee Bluff eager to embark on second-round playoff series' on Wednesday
Eli Reece
North Hall's Eli Reece throws against Coahulla Creek in the second round of the playoffs on April 28 in Gainesville. Photo by Natalae LaDouceur

The high school baseball postseason is all about establishing great pairings on the mound. 

That’s something that North Hall, Cherokee Bluff and Flowery Branch all have in common after putting on a dominating showing in the first round of the state playoffs last week. 

Now, all three schools need a repeat performance, if not better, in order to advance to the state quarterfinals. 

On Wednesday, second-ranked North Hall (25-4) plays host to No. 8 Hart County (22-8) in a best-of-three series, starting with a doubleheader in Gainesville. 

After a first-round sweep, Jaret Bales will throw in Game 1 and Eli Reece in the second game against the Bulldogs. 

Both right-handers threw six shutout innings against Coahulla Creek last week. 

“Our team feels good, like we’re at a good point,” Trojans coach Trevor Flow said. “We’ve had two of our best days in practice. I think this should be two or three really good baseball games in this series.”

Meanwhile, Flowery Branch right-hander Mason Compton, a sophomore, is coming off his most impressive showing — a five-inning, perfect game against Fayette County last week. 

He finished the game with seven strikeouts in the run-rule shortened game en route to a 10-0 Flowery Branch win. 

“Mason was really on his game last week,” Flowery Branch coach Joey Ray said. “We came out and took a big lead early and Mason took advantage of it.”

The Game 2 starter for the seventh-ranked Falcons (24-7) is just as good. Junior left-hander Jake Beaver will pitch the nightcap and is guaranteed to attack the strikezone with his fastball that tops out in the high 80s. 

“Jake, when he has the ball, is going to come right at folks,” Ray said. 

And Cherokee Bluff has a good playoff-pitching ready duo, too. 

Last week, sophomore Braxton Beal and Dylan Kautz carried the seventh-ranked Bears (22-9) past Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe in two games. 

Cherokee Bluff coach Jeremy Kemp is hoping to get to take the field with the season on the line against No. 9 Greater Atlanta Christian (23-8). 

“I think this is the best we’ve played all season and the guys are excited,” Kemp said. “But we have to be ready because this is GAC we’re playing against. Have you every known GAC to be bad at anything?”

Second round schedule
Class 4A

Flowery Branch at Cedartown, 4 p.m. Wednesday

Class 3A

North Hall vs. Hart County, 5 p.m. Wednesday

Cherokee Bluff at Greater Atlanta Christian, 4:30 p.m. Wednesday

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