To see a truly high-stakes high school baseball game show up at Thomson High School Saturday at 1 p.m.. Region 3-AAA leader West Laurens High School will be in town to face the Diamond Dogs in a contest that may ultimately decide the region championship. The total scenario will of course depend on the results of other region games played during the last two weeks of the regular season. That however, does not diminish the importance of this game.
If the Bulldogs want to be region champions a win over the Raiders is a must. Entering Friday's games, West Laurens has a 7-2 record in the region while Thomson stands at 5-3. West Laurens will host Washington County on Friday before coming here on Saturday. The Bulldogs will be idle on Friday, a decided advantage in my opinion.
Thomson lost a heartbreaker to the Raiders on March 27 by a score of 6-5. In fact, all three of Thomson's region losses have been by one run. The West Laurens loss was sandwiched by a 5-4 loss to Richmond Hill on March 13 and a 4-3 loss to Washington County last Saturday.
That loss to Washington County may be the one that costs Thomson the most even with a victory over West Laurens. After Saturday, Thomson will still have three region games and West Laurens will have only one. That disparity is due to the Raiders having no postponements and enjoying their Friday bye in the schedule next week.
Simply put, the possibilities are many but a Thomson win over West Laurens keeps them alive for a region championship. A loss likely guarantees that the trophy goes to the Raiders since a sweep would give them the head-to-head tiebreaker.
Short of winning the region and the number one seed from 3-AAA in the state playoffs, the Bulldogs still aspire to host an opening round playoff series on May 8 and 9. Finishing second in the region will give them that privilege. Thomson split with Richmond Hill and swept both games with Liberty County in the race for the runner-up position.
As in football, winning the region makes advancement through the playoffs considerably easier, on paper. The Region 3-AAA champion will host the fourth place team from Region 4-AAA. Generally speaking, there is a wider gap in competition between a number one seed and a number four seed, especially with number one enjoying home field advantage. There is usually less of a gap between a number two and three seed.
First things first though. I know the Thomson High team would greatly appreciate a big, boisterous crowd backing them up on Saturday. You know; since there is a home field advantage, let's have a home field advantage. Show up in force wearing black and gold ready to cheer the Bulldogs on. Baseball games of this nature have been few and far between in Thomson over the years. Take advantage of the opportunity to be there.