After a solid regular season, the Metter Tigers set their sights on an appearance in the Georgia High School Association state baseball playoffs this afternoon as they host Johnson County in the Region 3-A playoffs.
Metter (13-3, 8-2 Region 3-A) squares off against the Trojans (14-6, 8-4) for the first time this season in the best-of-three showdown. The teams will play a doubleheader beginning at 4 p.m. today. If necessary, Metter will host a decisive third game tomorrow.
The Tigers powered their way to a second place finish in their sub-region thanks to a powerful pitching staff and plenty of clutch hitting. Seniors Pete Nagel and Hunter Dixon provide an intimidating force on the mound as Metter is averaging just four runs allowed per game.
Last season, Metter’s offense was its Achilles heel, but the Tigers have improved their offensive production by a full two runs per game in 2011.
That boost, coupled with the dominating arms at its disposal, had Metter threatening perennial state champion contender Calvary Day for the top spot in the region and makes it a favorite to advance over Johnson County.
The Trojans have played ball at only a .500 clip since March 29, but have held their own in region play as half of their region losses came at the hands of powerhouse Treutlen and their region wins have come by an impressive average of 6.7 runs.
Metter will likely send Nagel — who signed to play with the the University of Georgia Bulldogs last fall — to the mound in today’s opener to try to gain the upper hand.
The Tigers are looking to earn their first state playoff bid since the 2007 campaign.
Mike Anthony can be reached at (912) 489-9404.