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Region 7-AAA playoff race wide open
Chestatee’s Kevin Clifford applies the tag on Flowery Branch’s Logan Conley during Wednesday’s game. Three weeks remain in the high school regular season.

For White County baseball coach John Brown, breaking down the Region 7A-AAA standings is pretty simple.

“(Creekview) has won more games, and none of the rest of us have done a good job winning,” said Brown of the Grizzlies, who currently sit in first in the subregion standings.

An obvious statement maybe, but it nonetheless serves as good evidence as to why, with three weeks remaining in the season, five teams are in the thick of the battle for second place in the North subregion and for one of four Class AAA state playoff spots from Region 7-AAA.

That’s a stark contrast to the South subregion which has two clear-cut leaders in Gainesville (15-1, 10-0 Region 7-AAA) and Lambert (11-4, 9-1).

“The other side has one or two strong teams,” Brown said. “We might not be as strong, but we’re all equal which I think serves you better come postseason time, because of the competition.

“There’s not (one) team in our half of the region that’s outright better than everybody else.”

White County, North Hall, Lumpkin County, Chestatee and Gilmer out of Region 7A-AAA each have a legitimate shot of not only making the state playoffs, but possibly upending the current leader of the pack.

“It’s going to be competitive these next few weeks for that No. 2 spot,” Brown said. “We’re lucky to be where we are.”

And where the Warriors (11-5, 6-4 Region 7-AAA) are is second behind Creekview (12-5, 8-2) in the standings.

White County started the season out hot, going 11-1, but have since faltered losing four straight, including a 1-0 loss to the Grizzlies.

“We’ve got some young men who are going to have to step up and play better,” Brown said. “They have to step it up and play like they did earlier in the season for us to make it where we want to.”

Playing a role in the mid-season letdown is the injury to starting pitcher David Sosebee. Sosebee went 6-1 with a 1.83 ERA and 62 strikeouts in 2009 and had 37 strikeouts in his final three starts of this season, which included a 4-3 win — White County’s last — against Lumpkin County on March 26.

Sosebee broke his hand in the Warriors 14-10 loss to Johnson, the loss that started the four-game skid. The junior right hander recently had surgery on the injured hand and while Brown isn’t certain in what capacity he’ll be able to return, he’s hopeful Sosebee will be back in the lineup.

“One player shouldn’t make as much a difference as (Sosebee) being hurt and out has made for us,” Brown said.

“We’re struggling to find the pitching we need and if we hope to keep where we are, we’re going to have to find it fast.”

Two teams, North Hall and Lumpkin County, are tied for the third spot in the standings with 5-5 region records.

The Trojans (8-8, 5-5) have lost their last two while the Indians (6-11, 5-5) have won their last five, each of which was against a region foe.

North Hall and Lumpkin County face off at 7 tonight in Dahlonega.

Rounding out the five vying for No. 2 in the subregion are Chestatee and Gilmer.

The War Eagles (9-6, 4-6) have lost five of their last six, but beat White County 11-1 on Monday.

The Bobcats have lost four of their last five but could gain some momentum with a win tonight when they play host to Creekview at 5:55 p.m.

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