It’s postseason time for college baseball.
Across the country, from Division 1 to junior colleges, each division is ready to crown its national champions over the next two weeks.
From a local perspective, we have the opportunity to follow some of the old high school heroes to the next level.
In Division 1, the 64-team field kicks off on Friday with 16 regional tournaments held across the country. This group includes four players with local ties.
The Auburn Tigers (37-19) host a Plains regional and will face Southeast Louisiana in the first round. Included on the Tigers roster is catcher Ryan Dyal who has homered four times this season and has 26 RBIs.
The Georgia Southern Eagles (40-18) also host a regional in Statesboro. Former Newnan Cougar Jake Martin is on the Eagles pitching team. He has won three games this year and made two saves in 25 appearances.
Another Newnan Cougar alum, Jett Lovett, is a freshman for the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (34-22). Tech will travel to Knoxville, Tennessee, and face Campbell University in the first round.
Of Northgate, Donavan Cash led the Kennesaw State Owls (35-26) to an ASUN Conference Championship on Saturday when they beat Liberty University 10-6. It was a big year for Cash, who was named the conference freshman.
For the year, Cash hit .356 with 19 home runs and 57 RBIs. The Owls travel to Hattiesburg, Mississippi, and face LSU in the first round.
For a local player, it was another bitter pill to swallow. Last year, former East Coweta Indian Devonte Brown and the North Carolina State Wolfpack were denied the chance to play for the national championship. They had to waive Vanderbilt for COVID-19 protocols.
Despite reaching the Atlantic Coast Conference Finals this season, the Wolfpack (36-21) were kicked out of the 2022 tournament.
In Division 2, the Columbus State Panthers (46-13) won the Southeast Regional but fell to Wingate University last week in the Super Regionals. Outfielder Will Wilbanks, a 2018 Newnan graduate, finished the year with a .291 ERA and had five home runs and 22 RBIs.
The LaGrange College Panthers (42-7) qualified for the Division III World Series over the weekend when they beat Chapman College in their super regional. The Panthers roster includes former Northgate Vikings, Dalton Brooks and Christian Dyer.
It’s been an emotional season for the Panthers. The World Series appearance is another high on a terrific run they’ve had this season. However, tragedy brought the team to a rock bottom when two players were killed in a car crash during the playoffs.
The Panthers travel to Cedar Rapids, Iowa to face the Trinity University Tigers on Friday in the first round with memories of their fallen teammates fresh in their minds.
In the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics World Series in Lewiston, Idaho, 2021 national champion Georgia Gwinnett Grizzlies (46-16) returned to defend her crown.
They qualified for the World Series after defeating William Carey, RV Point Park and Hope International at regionals. Former Heritage Hawk Chase Evans is playing first base and is in the middle of the Grizzlies lineup.
The Grizzlies beat Nazarene in the first round last Friday, but lost to Southeastern on Saturday, then were eliminated by Webber International on Monday afternoon.
Evans finished the season with .292 with nine home runs and 55 RBIs.
Ryan Dyal and the Auburn Tigers open their College World Series when they host Southeast Louisiana on Friday. Chase Evans and the Georgia Gwinnett Grizzlies played in the NAIA World Series in Lewiston, Idaho.Former Northgate Vikings Christian Dyer and Dalton Brooks with the super-regional trophy for the LaGrange College Panthers. They play in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, on Friday in the Division III World Series first round. Former Newnan Cougar Jett Lovett and the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets travel to Knoxville, Tennessee, to play at Campbell University on Friday