State Playoffs: Canes open playoffs at No. 1 Blessed Trinity
The GHSA Class AAAA state baseball playoffs get started Friday with the Cartersville Purple Hurricanes and No. 1-ranked Blessed Trinity Titans in the state's top-billed, first-round matchup in any classification.
Blessed Trinity has not lost to a Georgia opponent since an 8-7 extra innings loss to Class 5A Kell on February 27. The Titans went undefeated in Region 7-AAAA (12-0) and finished the regular season with a 27-3 mark. The out-of-state opponent loss was 4-3 to Providence (Jacksonville, FL) at the Perfect Game High School Showdown at LakePoint, but the Titans avenged that loss with an 11-0 win in Jacksonville over spring break at the Providence Tournament of Champions. Blessed Trinity's other loss this season was to Etowah on February 22.
The Titans cruised to 12-straight region wins over White County, West Hall, Chestatee, and Marist to win 7-AAAAA by a three game margin.
Cartersville, which was also ranked No. 1 at points during the season, finished 8-4 in Region 5-AAAA and secured the No. 4 seed from that region. Troup, LaGrange, and Cedartown -- along with the Hurricanes -- are all ranked in the state's top ten in Class AAAA from Region 5-AAAA. The region is represented by a strong group of contenders.
While the Canes finished with eight losses, they also have impressive wins over some of Georgia's top teams and programs including Class 7A playoff teams Walton, Lambert and Mill Creek. They defeated Class 6A playoff qualifier Johns Creek and downed Class 5A playoff qualifier Walnut Grove.
Like Blessed Trinity, Cartersville fell to eventual champ Providence at the PG High School Showdown. Facing another common opponent, the Canes defeated the Titans' region-runner up Marist early in the season.
Blessed Trinity is led on offense by three seniors -- Colin Davis, David Dunn, and Jake Lundkovsky. Davis, a Wofford College commit, has 10 home runs and 43 RBIs with a .411 batting average. Dunn -- headed to the Big Ten and Northwestern -- is hitting .388 and Lundkovsky is hitting .392 with 29 RBIs. Toss in sophomore C.J. Abrams hitting .450 in almost 100 at bats and senior Cole McNamee batting .330 and you have the makings of a prolific offense.
The Titans have three key arms at the top of their rotation in McNamee, Patrick McNamara and Payton Glavine. The three seniors have ERAs of 0.71, 0.34, and 1.04, respectively, and are a combined 23-1 on the mound. Glavine, son of Hall of Famer Tom Glavine, is an Auburn University commit leading the Titans' staff with 56 strikeouts. The other two pitchers are right behind with 50 and 45 punch outs. McNamara is a Presbyterian College commit. McNamee is committed to Wake Forest.
Cartersville will counter with their ace Anthony Seigler and sophomore Mason Barnett on the mound, then rely on the depth of a quality staff including Jake Gooch, Spencer Dickey, and J.P. Martin among others.
Along with Seigler at the top of the Hurricanes’ order, the Cartersville offense will look to Devin Warner, Noah Daniel, Dickey, Martin, Gooch and Preston Welchel. That group has provided the bulk of the offense in 2017.
The opening round state playoff series begins with a doubleheader at Blessed Trinity in Roswell Friday at 4:30pm.
If a third game is needed in the best-of-three series, it will be Saturday at 1pm in Roswell.
The winner of the Cartersville-Blessed Trinity series plays the Columbus-Thomson winner in the second round May 4-5.