East Paulding High School Baseball
The East Paulding Raiders wrapped up their regular season with a 2-0 Senior Night win over the Kell Longhorns on Friday, April 21. The victory ran the Raiders’ season mark to 15-13 overall and 11-5 in region 7AAAAA, good enough for 2nd place behind the Carrollton Trojans. More importantly, that runner-up finish meant that the Raiders would host a first round, best of 3 state AAAAA playoff series against the Columbia High Eagles beginning on Friday, April 28.
The first 12 games of the East Paulding season all came against non-region opposition and could be considered a run up to region play. Playing against top notch competition, the Raiders went 4-8 earning a split against last season’s AAAAA finalists with a win over Loganville and a loss to defending champion Houston County. Losses to out of state powerhouses came at the hands of the Cullman (AL) Bearcats, the James Clemens (AL) Jets and the Second Baptist Fighting Eagles out of Houston, TX coached by former major leaguers Lance Berkman and Andy Pettitte. Locally, the Raiders shut out the McEachern Indians and dropped a 1-run decision to the South Paulding Spartans. Additional wins came against Cherokee and Chapel Hill with losses to Milton, North Cobb and Johns Creek rounding out the early schedule.After dropping a pair of 1-run decisions to the eventual region champion Carrollton Trojans, the Raiders went on a 6-game win streak with sweeps against Woodland, Paulding County and Hiram. That streak leveled East Paulding’s season mark at 10-10 and positioned the Raiders nicely for a shot at the 2-seed out of 7AAAAA at 6 wins and 2 losses midway through the region slate. A 15-inning, 6-4 loss to Rome interrupted the streak and put a speed bump in the Raiders playoff drive. Rebounding nicely, East shut out Rome on the road before sweeping the Cass Colonels heading into the final 4 games of the season at 9-3 in the region. A pair of 1-run losses to the Villa Rica Wildcats made a sweep of the Kell Longhorns the only path for the Raiders to earn the 2-seed out of 7AAAAA and host in the first round. After giving up a pair of 1st inning runs to Kell on the Longhorn’s Senior Night, Ty DeLancey and Daniel Batcher posted blanks the rest of the way while Jody Waddell drove in 3 runs as the Raiders rallied for a 4-2 win.
Senior Night at East Paulding featured a rematch with Kell. The winner of the contest would earn the 2-seed out of 7AAAAA. A Raiders loss would drop them to 4th place and send them on the road for their playoff games. A 1st inning Alex Prosser 2-run homer gave senior Will Prater all the runs he would need as he fired a 3-hit complete game shutout to earn the Raiders their home series against Columbia.