The first set of champions will be determined this week, as tennis teams from around the area compete in their respective region tournaments.
Region 8-A kicks off a week filled with tournaments when Lakeview Academy’s boys and girls teams take to the courts starting at 10:30 a.m. Monday against Athens Christian at Athens Academy.
Region 8-AAA begins its tournament Wednesday at the Bobby Bailey Tennis Center in Flowery Branch. Seventh-ranked West Hall (16-2, 11-1) enters the tournament as the top seed on the boys side, and teams like No. 8 Gainesville, Lumpkin County and No. 6 Oconee County have a good chance at earning one of the four playoff spots. Oconee County appears to be the team to beat in the girls bracket, as the Lady Warriors enter with a 12-0 region record and ranked fourth in Class AAA.
The top-seeded Flowery Branch girls open the Region 8-AAAA on Thursday. The Lady Falcons (17-1, 10-0) should reach the postseason as they enter the tournament ranked No. 7 in Class AAAA. The Falcons (13-5, 9-1) are trying to reach the state tournament for the first time.
HIGH SCHOOL BASEBALL: The top three teams in Region 8-AAA are all in action this week, and all face a team capable of ruffling the top of the standings.
First-place White County (14-3, 13-3) faces a scrappy Stephens County team at 5:55 p.m. Monday, and while the Indians’ record (8-9, 6-9) doesn’t appear all that impressive, they beat North Hall earlier this year in extra innings. The Trojans (12-4, 11-3) are tied with No. 6 Gainesville for second place (a half-game behind No. 7 White County), and have a rematch with the Indians on Wednesday. North Hall opens this week against fourth-place Franklin County, which it beat 15-5 in the first meeting of the year.
Gainesville (14-3, 11-3) plays West Hall and Franklin County in its first two games of the week, but the Red Elephants will be tested Friday when they visit Lumpkin County. The Indians (9-7, 8-7) defeated Gainesville, 9-7, and are the only team other than White County to beat the Red Elephants.
GWINNETT BRAVES: The oft-injured Jair Jurrjens makes his first rehab start of the year tonight against Norfolk. The 25-year-old has thrown only one inning against live competition since March 18 because of an oblique injury that originally flared up early in his March 24 spring training start against Toronto. Tonight’s game with the Tides kicks off a three-game series at Coolray Field.
ATLANTA BRAVES: While Jurrjens works his way back from injury, the Braves continue their 10-day homestand with a pair of series against NL East opponents. Atlanta welcomes Florida to Turner Field on Tuesday and the New York Mets on Friday. The Braves have dropped two straight series after Sunday’s loss to the Phillies.