TIFTON — Four area baseball teams will be opening up play in their respective state tournaments Friday.

The Worth County Rams (19-7), champions of Region 1-AAA, will open up with the Troup High Tigers, the No. 4 seed from Region 2-AAA. The Rams will host Troup (16-10) in a 4 p.m. doubleheader tomorrow, a third game, if necessary, would be at 7 p.m. Saturday.

Worth’s baseball league title was the school’s first since the Sylvester Eagles won in 1959.

“It’s safe to say we are pretty excited around here,” Worth head coach Will Smith said.

Even though the Tigers are a No. 4 team, Smith feels like Troup will be a tough opening matchup for his squad.

“Region 2 is normally one of the best in the state. They have to be good to get out of that region,” Smith said.

The Worth coach then listed some of Troup’s strengths.

“They have three guys that throw the ball between 80 and 85 and all three have pretty good control. They are a scrappy bunch overall. They play solid defense,” Smith said. “They are a good, solid team.”

To prepare for the weekend, Worth faced off against Jeff Davis on Tuesday.

“It was a tune-up for us. We played Dougherty last week and won that game 21-0. That meant the last meaningful game we had played was over a week and a half ago against Crisp (a 9-6 Worth loss on May 1),” said Smith. “It was good for us and Jeff Davis, because we were able to get everyone some work. We pitched all six of our pitchers and they threw five of their six pitchers.”

Even though both teams treated the contest as a spring training game, the Yellow Jackets of Jeff Davis did a good job keeping Worth’s offense in check.

“We are batting .355 as a team this season,” Smith said.

Worth’s best hitter has been Daniel Henley. A first alternate third baseman for Team Georgia, the senior is batting .488 on the year.

“He was around .550 for most of the year,” Smith said of the three-year starter.

Ryan Watson, a four-year starter, is batting .418 this season.

“Ryan and Daniel are both career .400 hitters for us,” Smith said.

Scott Sumner, who is expected to sign with Brewton-Parker, is batting .320. Jordan Jones, who Smith calls his No. 1 starting pitcher, is batting .360 and Ryan Watson is batting .380.

All of those players are a part of Worth’s 10 member senior class. They are joined by Kaleb Hathcock, Shawn Barnard, Chris Etheridge, Alex Mayer and Robby Peacock.

The senior class “is the reason we are doing as well as we are,” Smith said. “We lost seven seniors last year, including six starters. This year’s senior class has really stepped it up for us.”

Worth will enter the playoffs on a roll as they have won 16 of their last 18 games after beginning the year with a 3-5 record.

The Turner County Rebels (19-7), the Region 1-A runner-up, will host the Brookstone Cougars, the No. 3 seed from Region 2-A in the first round. The first game will be held at 3 p.m. with the second game at 6 p.m. A third game will be played at 1 p.m. Saturday, if needed.

Head coach Casey Soliday said his team hits the ball hard especially at the top of the lineup. Leadoff hitter Russell Coker is batting .370, while catcher Jeremy Stevenson leads the team with a .390 average and four home runs. Adam Brock is hitting .386 with two home runs.

He said the team also has a pair of aces in Brock and Josh Giddens. Brock is the team’s top pitcher with a 7-1 record and a 1.14 ERA. Giddens is not far behind with a 6-1 record and 1.74 ERA.

Soliday said Brookstone is an evenly matched opponent for the Rebels.

“They’re pretty solid throughout,” he said of the Cougars. “They don’t have that one outstanding player but they don’t have that weak player.”

He said Brookstone also has three good pitchers.

The Tiftarea’s other league champion was the Cook High Hornets as head coach Bob Owsley’s team captured the Region 1-AA title.

Cook (22-4) will host the Bacon County Red Raiders, the No. 4 team from Region 2-AA. The two teams will play a 4 p.m. doubleheader tomorrow in Adel. A third game, if needed, will be played at 7 p.m. Saturday.

The Berrien High Rebels finished second to Cook in Region 1-AA and will face the Brantley County Herons, the No. 3 seed from Region 2-AA, in the first round Friday. The first game will be held at 2 p.m. Friday in Nashville with a second game immediately after. If a third game is needed, play will resume at 2 p.m. Saturday.

The Rebels (15-10) will depend on a deep pitching staff which includes four or five pitchers and three or four that throw often. Head coach Doug Nix said that the team’s hitting and defense have been hot lately.

Instead of emphasizing individual players, Nix said the Rebels work as a team.

“We’re trying to really focus this year on being team oriented,” he said.

The coach said Berrien will face a similar team in the Herons.

“They’re a lot like us,” he said. “I think it’s really going to come down to who has the best day and who makes the fewest mistakes.

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