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Post-season talk picking up for spring athletics

There are still a lot of contests to be played in all of the spring sports.
There are some big ones coming up and some not-so big ones.
Some teams, like tennis, have finished their subregion schedule, sewn up a state playoff spot, and haven’t another 3AA contest til the region tournament in mid-April.
Some teams, like soccer, have a huge game Friday that may decide state playoff chances.
Some teams, like baseball, have Josey and Laney this week before really big road games at East Laurens and Westside next week.
Anyway, it is getting time for scoreboard watching as it may exist in high school sports.
You know, the “if we beat so and so and they lose to so and so.”
Probably not so with baseball yet; only five region games under their belt and seven to go. We started kind of watching last week and it got us bases loaded with nobody out twice and no runs to show for it.
With a region meeting on Sunday of next year’s 3AA schools to presumably iron out everything for the next two school years, some thoughts on the comparison of current versus future.
Football will be marginally tougher (there is no winless Josey, but also none of the new gridiron foes are Laney).
Basketball will be weaker. Everything else? Well, everything else will automatically be tougher because Laney and Josey are so pitiful at everything else.
No 29-0 baseball games in this region.
There also will be no subregions so basketball, softball, and tennis will have a lot more region games.
There also will be no more over/under on how close to game time those two Richmond County schools will arrive.
Look for Metter, Swainsboro, and Jefferson County to treat every sport just as seriously as we do. We have played all of them plenty of times before and we know that to be true.
SCHS will host the Region 3AA cross country meet this Fall for the third consecutive season. Improves our chances for a three-peat in that sport I believe.
We will host the region tennis at Mill Creek in Statesboro for the 2015 season as well.
A few college softball highlights from the weekend include: On Saturday, Dawn Stewart pitched a complete-game shutout as Coastal Georgia Community College defeated Southern State Athletic Conference foe Emmanuel 3-0; Friday night in a 1-0 North Georgia win over Peach Belt opponent Lander, Rochelle Shuman doubled in Tiffanie Burns for that one run; and Sydnee Weaver went 5-12 for Young Harris in four games over the weekend against Peach Belt foes USC-Aiken and Lander and it lowered her season average to .411. Weaver is fourth in the conference in batting average and stolen bases.
Back to the subject of GSU leaving the SoCon for the Sun Belt -- well the rest of the conference may be wishing the Eagles a fond farewell, especially in football, but they may have second thoughts about telling some of the other sports good bye. Remember that Mercer, fresh from the Atlantic Sun, is filling the Georgia “state team” void in the Southern Conference.
At the top of the list for SoCon worries has to be basketball.
The Mercer boys are famous for this season, but last season they advanced to the second round of the NIT (beat Tennessee in the first round that time). A season ago their girls won 20 games and were invited to the WBI, the women’s equivalent to the NIT. Of course, Eagle basketball is infamous for its ineptitude.
Maybe the premier sport at GSU right now is softball; certainly no men’s’ sport has won back-to-back conference titles and the Lady Eagles still feature the best pitcher in the conference. Mercer swept them this past week.
The Bears’ baseball team was 43-18 a year ago and got an at-large bid to an NCAA regional. GSU has not gotten an at-large bid in better than a decade.
There is GSU volleyball, like GSU softball the GSU volleyball team has been very successful, winning a pair of conference titles in the past four years, Mercer sported a 1-27 record this past season. Someone else will have a chance to win the conference title.
Anyway, maybe I will see you at the soccer match or the baseball game this March 27 afternoon.

Burton Kemp Jr. is a contributing writer to the Sylvania Telephone.