PLAYOFF PREVIEW: Callaway, LaGrange and Troup baseball to get playoffs started on Thursday

Published 8:15 am Thursday, April 25, 2024

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All three local high school baseball teams are back in the playoffs. All three teams will be heading to the playoffs with eyes on a deep run and it all starts on Thursday.



The Cavaliers have been one of the premium teams in 2A baseball for the last decade and the team is looking to prove it after finishing fourth in the region last year and exiting the playoffs in the first round. 

Callaway has already rebounded from last year’s slump to finish second in the region this season. The Cavaliers will be at home in the opening round as they welcome East Jackson to town. The first game of the doubleheader is set to start at 4 p.m. on Thursday with game two to follow. Game three would be played on Friday if necessary. 

East Jackson is 14-13 on the season and comes into the playoffs having lost its last two games of the regular season. This has been a resurgent year for the Eagles, who finished in third place in Region 8-2A after missing the playoffs the season prior. In fact, this is the Eagles’ first playoff appearance since 2019.

Payton Garner will be a name for the Cavaliers to keep their eye on as he leads the Eagles in a tying average (.397), hits (31), 21 RBIs and is the only member of the team to go yard this season which he has done on six occasions.

Callaway’s no. 1 hitter, Bryce Hubbard, is also the team’s ace pitcher. He is hitting .426 with 24 RBIs this season. The University of North Georgia commit has an ERA under 1.00 and has pitched the most innings for the Cavaliers this season and will likely start game one.

Brantin Swanson has been the other main pitcher for Callaway and could get the start in game two. Sophomore Blake Harrington has been outstanding on the mound and will figure into the equation as well.

Aidan Holley has seen the most action on the mound for the Eagles this season and will likely get the nod in game one. 

After losing its first two games, Callaway has gone 20-4 since with the four losses coming by a total of just nine runs. 

If Callaway wins this series, the team will either host Fannin County next Wednesday for a doubleheader or travel to North Cobb.



The Grangers are no stranger to deep playoff runs having made it to back-to-back 4A state championship series. LaGrange also captured back-to-back region titles during that run, losing just two total region games. This year was different as LaGrange lost four total region games and slipped to second in the region behind one of the favorites to win the state title — Starr’s Mill.

LaGrange still did enough to earn a home playoff series in the first round as the team will host Bainbridge for a doubleheader on Thursday starting at 4 p.m. with a game three to be played on Friday if necessary.

Bainbridge comes into the playoffs on a slump, having lost seven of its last eight games to fall to 9-13 overall. This was in stark contrast to last year when the Bearcats won the region and made it to the second round of the state playoffs.

Despite losing a ton of talent from the two teams that finished state runner-up, the Grangers still have loads of talent. Caden Wood pitched in game three of the state championship last season and has been battle-testing in numerous playoff games. The junior will likely see the start on the mound in game one or two.

Robbie Parker is an all-state pitcher and can start or come into relief depending on the situation. Georgia Southern commit Tanner Langley has also been a starter on both of those teams.

There are undoubtedly players that have taken on more substantial roles this season, but the very best teams like LaGrange just re-tool and get back to it.

The path to finally claiming that elusive second state championship starts Thursday, but the hope is it will continue long after that. If the Grangers win in round one they will either travel to take on Wayne County or host Howard next Wednesday.  LaGrange has played every single playoff series (outside of the state championships) at home the last two seasons.

LaGrange comes into the playoffs having won 10 of its last 14 games. All four of those losses have come by just one run. 



The Tigers missed out on the big dance last season but rebounded in a big way this season. Troup finished third in the region and had a chance to finish as high as second in the final region game of the year, but could not pull through. This means that the Tigers will be on the road in the opening road of the state playoffs, going up against old region foe Shaw. 

Troup is no stranger to being road warriors as the last time the team made the playoffs in 2022, the team went on a run to the state quarterfinals with every round being on the road.

While the Tigers may be no stranger to being road warriors, most of the players will be. A vast majority of the team is sophomores and freshmen and does not have playoff experience yet.

Troup will have to rely heavily on the veteran leadership of junior Fisher Baltzell and senior Tripp Cummings, who have both played in playoff games previously.

This will also serve as a chance for a young Troup player to make a name for themselves. Davis Moncus could just be that guy as the freshman is enjoying a terrific first season with the Tigers 

Troup and Shaw share three common opponents this season — Callaway, Columbus and Vally (AL). In those games, Shaw went a combined 0-4 while Troup was 2-2.

Shaw is coming off a strong season last year in which the Raiders went 21-12 and made it to the second round of the state playoffs where they fell to LaGrange in two games.

Troup’s 17-11 record is quite deceiving as the team has matched up with some of the best teams in Georgia and Alabama. The Tigers are currently ranked top-10 in 4A and look to prove their case against an old enemy on Thursday. 

Troup will take on Shaw on Thursday with the opening pitch in game one set for 4 p.m.