Both teams have been on a roll this season, Spalding (21-7) by winning the Region 4-AAA championship and Carrollton (17-11) by finishing runner-up in 6-AAA.
“They play in one of the best regions in the state,” longtime Spalding High head coach Mickey Moody noted of a region which houses the likes of No. 1-state ranked Columbus (25-3) — which beat Spalding in three games last season to win the state championship for the second year in a row — in addition to third-place LaGrange (20-8) and fourth-place Troup County (19-9).
Both teams have a little history on their side, too. While Spalding has been to the state semifinals in 2004 and reached the aforementioned state finals last season, Carrollton has played in state semifinals in 2005, 2007, 2008 and 2009.
Heading into the series the Jags have won two of their last three, including a 4-2 victory in Game three of the opening-round series Saturday at Jaguar Field against Westside-Augusta. The Carrollton Trojans, meanwhile, have won two of their row — which includes a sweep of of Riverwood, winning 10-2 in Game 1 and 4-3 in nine inning in Game 2 on Friday — and three of their last four.
The scouting report on the Trojans: “They have a crafty lefty who throws three pitches for strikes and three righties, including one low-elbow guy, a sidewinder who throws a fastball, a slider and a lot of breaking balls,” said Moody. “(As a staff) they don’t have a lot of velocity. They have one kid in the mid 80’s, but they will throw a lot of strikes.”
Spalding comes into the match up averaging 7 runs per game this season while yielding 3 rpg. Carrollton averages 4 rpg while yielding 2 rpg.
“That tells me they play good defense, pitch well and can manufacture runs,” added Moody. “They’re good on the base paths and selective at the plate.”
The winner of this series advances to a state quarterfinal-round series next week against the winner of West Laurens (21-6) and No. 2-state ranked Gainesville (27-0).