With most high school sports teams off this week for spring break, baseball is almost exclusively the only sport in town.
With only four weeks remaining in the regular season, the next six days will go a long way to helping shape up the region races for the playoffs. In Region 8-AAA, there will be a clear frontrunner, once again, after Gainesville (13-2, 11-2) and White County (11-2, 10-2 Region 8-AAA) face off today in Cleveland.
The Red Elephants have won seven straight, six coming by mercy rule since their only region loss to Lumpkin County on March 15. Last Friday, Gainesville shut down Lanier 10-0 at Ivey-Watson in six innings.
Meanwhile, the Warriors have been just as tough. White County's David Sosebee pitched a 10-strikeout, complete game performance against North Hall on Friday. White County goes on the road the remainder of the week with games at Johnson on Wednesday and at Chestatee on Friday.
Gainesville rounds out the week with a game at Monroe Area on Friday.
After Friday's loss to White County, North Hall (11-4, 10-3) is in third place. The Trojans have winnable games at West Hall on Monday and Lanier on Wednesday (a combined 4-21 region record).
ATLANTA BRAVES: The Braves open a four-game series today at the Milwaukee Brewers, then wrap up the week at home with the first of many series against the Philadelphia Phillies.
Against Washington in a three-game, season-opening series that concluded Sunday, Brian McCann swung the hottest bat, going 6 for 13 and driving in five runs.
GWINNETT BRAVES: The Triple-A G-Braves open the season against the Durham Bulls on Thursday at Coolray Field in Lawrenceville. Last season, Gwinnett finished with a 72-71 record in the International League's Southern division, 16 games behind division champion Durham (88-55).
On opening night, former Atlanta Braves manager Bobby Cox will throw out the ceremonial first pitch. Cox retired after the 2010 season, following a trip to the playoffs for the first time since 2005.
This season, Gwinnett will be anchored by an exciting young pitching staff, expected to feature Mike Minor and Julio Teheran, the franchise's best prospect according to MLB.com and Baseball America. Minor was set to begin the season in Gwinnett before being called up to the majors Sunday after Jair Jurrjens was placed on the disabled list.
The G-Braves have a track record of turning out solid pitching prospects. In 2010, Jonny Venters, Craig Kimbrel and Brandon Beachy all made the jump from Triple-A to Atlanta. In 2009, Gwinnett's first season as the club's Triple-A affiliate, Tommy Hanson and Kris Medlen started with the G-Braves before quickly making the jump to Atlanta.
Gwinnett opens the season with nine consecutive home games, including series against the Norfolk Tides and Charlotte Knights before their first road trip of the season.