Posted: Wednesday, May 7th 2014 at 4:15pm
Baseball: Falcons looking for respect? Not necessarily
By Jeff Hart Staff
Flowery Branch travels to face North Paulding in the Class AAAAA playoffs, starting with a doubleheader on Wednesday.
STATE BASEBALL PLAYOFFS SERIES FOR AREA TEAMS
Sequoyah at Gainesville, 4 p.m. -- RADIO: 1240 AM
Flowery Branch at North Paulding, 4:30 p.m.
St. Pius at Buford, 4:30 p.m.
North Hall at Blessed Trinity, 4:30 p.m.
FLOWERY BRANCH -- Flowery Branch baseball coach Scott Myers is hoping his Falcons continue to get the Rodney Dangerfield treatment.
“We don’t want any respect right now. Just keep a low profile,” he joked Tuesday as the Falcons prepare to take on North Paulding Wednesday in the second round of the Class AAAAA playoffs in Dallas.
That may be hard to do since Flowery Branch (18-8) is coming off a road sweep of Region 6-AAAAA champion Dunwoody in the first round. It had to have drawn the attention of the other playoff teams, especially after coming into the playoffs as the fourth seed out of Region 8-AAAAA.
First pitch against North Paulding (22-7) is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. with the second game of the doubleheader to follow in the best-of-three series. Game 3, if necessary, will be Thursday.
The winner will get the winner of the Lee County-Houston County series beginning next Tuesday.
“I’m sure people saw that but hopefully we stay behind the scenes a little longer. We don’t mind being the red-headed step-sister,” Myers said.
The Falcons’ 7-2 and 8-2 wins over Dunwoody displayed the potential that Myers has known all year long his team possessed. They faced playoff elimination before the playoffs even began needing a sweep of Winder-Barrow in the final two regular season Region 8-AAAAA games just to get into the playoffs.
“We talked before the Winder series that the playoffs for us really began then,” Myers said. “I think the guys understood what was at stake and they have really stepped up. They’re playing with a lot of confidence right now.”
It starts on the mound for Flowery Branch and Jonathan Hughes and Dylan Gibeau give the Falcons as solid a 1-2 combination at the top of the rotation as anybody in the playoffs. Both pitched complete games against Dunwoody and they will need to be at the top of their game again against a Wolfpack squad that has scored nine or more runs in 13 games this season.
At the plate, Hughes and Gibeau also were big contributors in the opening series combining for five hits. Justin Seabolt had three hits in the series but Cam Davis gave the lineup an extra spark with four hits against Dunwoody.
“We got a lot of contributions up and down the lineup and that’s what you need this time of year,” Myers said. “Cam has really come on of late. It’s always pitching and defense that you need most but we feel we have that. If we can get enough going at the plate, we like our chances against anyone.”
North Paulding, after a 5-3 start, has gone 17-4 over the last seven weeks, and, like Flowery Branch, knocked off a higher seed in Pope in three games in the first round.
“We don’t know much about them but (North Paulding) has two good pitchers and can swing the bats,” Myers said. “It’s going to be another challenge for us on the road.”
The Falcons have done well on the road in 2014 sporting a 7-5 record away from Hog Mountain Sports Complex. The Wolfpack are 9-4 at home.
Myers said a huge factor for the Falcons surge is playing in Region 8-AAAAA. Three of the four teams moved on and Heritage, Conyers, the only 8-AAAAA team to not advance, took Stephenson to three games in the first round.
“We play in the toughest region in the state, any classification. We’re battle-tested already. It’s just a testament to the strength of our region,” Myers said. “Hopefully everyone can keep it going.”
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