Valwood, Lowndes prepare for semifinals

May 9—VALDOSTA — Two local high school baseball teams battle for chances to reach the state finals this weekend.

Lowndes hosts North Paulding in the GHSA Class 7A semifinals. The first game of their Saturday doubleheader is at 4 p.m. Game three would be Monday at 5 p.m.

In the GIAA Class 3A semifinals, Valwood travels to John Milledge Academy Friday. Their doubleheader begins at 1:30 p.m. Their third game would be Saturday at 1 p.m.

Should either reach their championship games, Valwood's opponent would be Heritage (Newnan) or fellow District 3-AAA school, Terrell Academy. They would play at Mercer in Macon on May 16.

Lowndes would take on either Grayson or Brookwood, both Gwinnett County schools. The 7A final is slated for the supposedly neutral Coolray Field, home of the Gwinnett Braves.

Defending state champions in 7A, Lowndes carries a 31-6 record into the semifinals. Over the first three rounds, they have dropped only one game and have outscored opponents, 60-9.

North Paulding comes in with a 24-11 mark, which includes an upset of Parkview in the second round. The Wolfpack swept North Gwinnett in the quarterfinals to reach this round.

Valwood is 16-11 on the year, but have won eight of their last 10 games. That includes winning two of three from GIAA No. 1 Pinewood Christian.

Team stats on MaxPreps have Jack Drew hitting .429 to lead the squad, with .300-plus averages from Dalton Smith and Dustin Gibbs.

Drew is at 24 runs batted in and Dallas Hatfield has 21. A trio of players have at least 20 runs scored this year: Drew, Smith and Maddox Coile.