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Baseball playoff picture taking shape

COVINGTON -- Region play of the high school baseball season is just past the midway point and the playoff picture is starting to come into focus.

Even though a lot can still happen, many teams either need to win out the rest of the season while getting a lot of help to make it to the state level if they hope to make it. All the teams sitting at the top of their region have to do is avoid a total collapse for them not to make it. Of course, with high school baseball anything is possible.

In Region 2-AAAAAA play, Alcovy sits atop of the region with a 6-1 record. Its only region loss was a close 2-1 decision to second-place Luella, which sits a half-game behind at 5-1. The two top teams will meet again on April 19 at Luella possibly with the region championship at stake. Alcovy's next region game is on April 12 against Rockdale.

Unless one of the top teams crumbles, Newton has a solid hold of third place with a 5-2 record, having lost to both Luella and Alcovy while taking two from Rockdale. It has a chance to redeem itself for the losses with a game at Alcovy on April 16 and against Luella on April 24, the final day of the regular season, at home.

With a 3-4 record, Rockdale controls its destiny to take the final region playoff spot even with games against Luella and Alcovy. Rockdale's final three games of the season are against teams currently at the bottom of the region, Druid Hills, Morrow and Lovejoy. But even though the teams have a combined overall record of just 5-22, Rockdale and the others have to be wary of Lovejoy. One of the region wins for the Wildcats was a 10-6 victory against Luella. At 2-3 in the region, Lovejoy has a chance to rock the boat for the Bulldogs. Of their remaining seven games, they still have a doubleheader against winless Druid Hills and Morrow. Both teams are still looking for not only their first region wins, buttheir first win of the season. The Bulldogs will meet Lovejoy in what could be an important region game on April 19 at home.

Eastside also has a chance to win its region outright as the only undefeated team in Region 8-AAAA at 8-0. The Eagles, who are 16-1 for the season, having lost a 3-2 game to Jackson County, cannot afford to let their play down as their next two series could be crucial for them. Eastside will play a home-away series against third-place Lanier at home starting on April 10 before traveling to Sugar Hill that Friday. Following that series, the Eagles will play two games against second-place Stephens County. The first game will be on the road on April 15 before coming home to finish the series two days later.

Unfortunately for Heritage and Salem in Region 8-AAAAA, their seasons will probably be over on the last day of the regular season. Heritage starts the second half of region play with a 2-5 record while the Seminoles are at 0-8. The two will face each other today at 6 p.m. at Salem for their second meeting. The Patriots won the first game 6-5.