Americus-Sumter No. 1 singles star Joel Landis rolled in his second-round state tournament match Monday with a 6-0, 6-0 victory against his opponent from Richmond Academy. (Chris Whitaker/Americus Times-Recorder)
AMERICUS — The Americus-Sumter boys tennis team got a head start on everyone around the state and won its second-round match against Richmond Academy on Monday to advance back to the Elite 8 round of the Class AAA state tennis tournament.
It’s the second consecutive trip to the Elite 8 for the Panthers, who had an easy time with Richmond, winning all five matches in straight sets.
Joel Landis, the reigning Herald Player of the Year, won his No. 1 singles match, 6-0, 6-0, and David Cowan won at No. 2 singles, 6-2, 6-3. Brandon Roberts won at No. 3 singles, 6-3, 6-2, and both doubles teams won easily as the Mercer twins, Kentrell and Kendrick, cruised in their the No. 1 doubles match, 6-0, 6-2, and the No. 2 doubles team of Colton Taunton and Justin Wells won easily, 6-3, 6-1.
The Panthers will play next week against the winner of today’s Sandy Creek-West Laurens match. If Sandy Creek wins, Americus-Sumter, the No. 1 seed from Region 1-AAA, will host.
“I feel like we’re better this year (than last year),’’ Americus-Sumter tennis coach Carl Willis said. “We’re better at No. 3 singles and much better in doubles. The Mercer twins were my No. 2 doubles team last year and moved up to No. 1. They both play football, and they will come after you. My No. 1 and No. 2 doubles teams are pretty sporty.’’
But the Panthers’ march toward a state title Monday was just the beginning of a busy week around Southwest Georgia for spring sports prep teams.
This is one of the most hectic weeks in high school sports with state playoff rounds in tennis, soccer and baseball taking place, as well as the three-day GHSA girls state track & field meet, which begins Thursday at Hugh Mills. There, the Monroe girls will try to win their fourth consecutive Class AAA state title.
First up, however, is more tennis and a soccer showdown today.
Bainbridge will host two second-round tennis matches today and then a state playoff opener soccer game tonight. The Region 1-AAAA champion Lady Bearcats play McIntosh, the No. 3 seed from Region 2-AAAA, at 1:30 p.m., followed by the Bainbridge boys, who won the Region 1-AAAA tennis title. The Bearcats will also play McIntosh (the No. 3 seed from Region 2-AAAA).
Then the Bainbridge boys soccer team will host a playoff game for the first time in the program’s history at 6 p.m. against Richmond Hill, the No. 3 seed from Region 2-AAAA.
Wednesday will be a big day for Baconton Charter’s tennis teams, both of which won their region titles two weeks ago. The girls’ victory marked their second region crown in a row, while the boys have now won seven straight 1-A championships.
The girls and boys both play in the second round of the Class A state playoffs at the Mitchell County Tennis Center. Baconton’s girls face Savannah Christian at 12:30 p.m., followed by the boys match against Calvary Day.
Lee County’s Region 1-AAAA champion girls soccer team is at home at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday in the opening round of the GHSA Class AAAA state playoffs against Lakeside Evans, the No.4 seed from Region 2-AAAA.
The first round of GHSA Class AAA girls state soccer tourney begins Thursday when Crisp County, the 1-AAA No. 4 seed, travels to face 2-AAA champ Veterans. Westover, the No. 2 seed from 1-AAA hosts West Laurens (Region 2-AAA’s No. 3 seed) on Friday, and Worth County, the Region 1-AAAA No. 3 seed, travels to play Mary Persons, the No. 2 seed from Region 2-AAA. Deerfield-Windsor will host a pair of second-round soccer games in the GISA Class AAA state playoffs Wednesday. The girls face Wesminster at 3 p.m. and the boys will play Augusta Prep at 5:30 p.m.
Terrell Academy’s girls soccer team will host reigning GISA Class AA state champ Frederica at 7 p.m. on Wednesday. The Lady Eagles, who won the region title, lost the state title to Frederica two years ago and then fell again to Frederica in last year’s state semifinals.
Crisp County’s boys soccer team opens play at Region 2-AAA champion Veterans on Wednesday, and Americus’ boys — the Region 1-AAA champ — hosts Region 2-AAA, No. 4 seed Mary Persons on Thursday.
The baseball playoffs for both GHSA and GISA, meanwhile, begin Friday.
Lee County, which just wrapped up the Region 1-AAAA title, hosts Wayne County at 5 p.m. on Friday in a doubleheader with the third game (if necessary) scheduled for Saturday.
Crisp County, the No. 3 ranked team in the Class AAA state poll and No. 22 in the nation, according to ESPN.com, will open the Class AAA state playoffs at home against Howard on Friday.
Westover, the No. 4 seed in Region 1-AAA, travels to Veterans on Friday to face the Region 2-AAA champs, and Worth County, the No. 3 seed from Region 1-AAA, travels to Region 2-AAA No. 2 West Laurens for its first-round series Friday.
Region 1-A champ Seminole County will be at home Friday to open the playoffs against No. 4 seed Clinch County, and Miller County, the No. 2 seed from Region 1-A, will host Region 2-A’s No. 3 seed, Lanier County. Pelham, the No. 3 seed from Region 1-A, will travel to Irwin County, and Baconton Charter, the fourth seed from Region 1, will travel to play Region 2-A champ Charlton County on Friday.
All the playoff series are a best-of-three.
Deerfield will be at home to open the GISA Class AAA playoffs Friday. The Knights (18-3) will play today vs. Westfield at 5:30 p.m. for the region title in a one-game playoff and then host the first round of state Friday against an opponent to be determined.
Westwood, which won the GISA Region 3-A title, and defending state champ Crisp Academy, which was second in Region 3-A, both get first-round byes. They played for the state title last year and split a pair of games this season. Randolph Southern, the No. 3 seed in GISA 3-A, opens Friday at Memorial Day with a twin bill.
Terrell Academy opens the GISA Class AA playoffs at 7 p.m. on Thursday at Frederica with Game 1 with the series concluding Friday.