Southwest DeKalb's Dante Alexander slides safely into home during the Panthers' Class 5A state playoffs first game win against Clarke Central. (Photo by Mark Brock)

Southwest DeKalb’s Dante Alexander slides safely into home during the Panthers’ Class 5A state playoffs first game win against Clarke Central. (Photo by Mark Brock)

A sweep of Clarke Central in the opening round of the Class 5A high school baseball playoffs at Southwest DeKalb ended 41 years without a playoff series victory for the Southwest DeKalb Panthers on Wednesday afternoon.

The Panthers (18-4) took a pair of 16-6 wins in the doubleheader to advance to the second round on Thursday, May2 to host the winner of the East Paulding/Riverwood series that is knotted at one game apiece after a split on Wednesday.

Southwest DeKalb opened the first game with a four-run first inning fueled by a RBI single by Juston Jordan and a big two-run double off the left field fence by Dante Alexander.

The Panthers added six more runs in the bottom of the second aided by RBI singles from Sadir Ryan and Ernest Spikes to go with a RBI double by pitcher Theo Bryant as the lead ballooned to 10-0.

Isaac Ward picked up the first hit of the game For the Gladiators off of Bryant with a RBI single in the third inning to put Clarke Central on the board.

Jordan and Keion Neal extended Southwest DeKalb’s lead to 12-1 with a RBI single each in the inning.

Clarke Central picked up four runs in the fourth inning to make it a 12-5 game leaning on RBI singles by George Monterola and Isaac Schmidt and made it a 12-6 game in the top of the sixth on Stephen Cofer’s RBI double.

Two errors and four walks contributed to the Panthers closing out the game by the run rule as Bryant drew a bases-loaded walk to make it 16-6.

Southwest DeKalb jumped out quickly in the second game scoring six runs in the top of first inning as back-to-back RBI singles by Ryan and Bryant got the scoring started. Chauncey Adams would add a RBI single of his own and Spikes would drive home a run with a sacrifice fly.

Clarke Central took advantage of a hit batsman and a walk in the bottom of the first to cut the lead to 6-3.

Bryant made it 7-3 in the second inning with a RBI single into right field.

The Panthers picked up five more runs in the top of the fourth inning keyed by a two-run single by Neal and a two-run double by Spikes as the lead expanded 12-1 on the way to the second game 16-6 victory.

In other Class 5A action for DeKalb, Chamblee fell 7-0, 6-2 to Walnut Grove, Arabia Mountain dropped two games to Buford by scores of 13-3, 15-0 and Lithonia fell in two games to Loganville 10-3 and 13-0.

Stephenson celebrates Joseph Jackson’s two-run homer in Game 2 win over Lee County in the Class 6A state playoffs. (Photo by Bruce James)

Class 6A
Stephenson rebounded from a tough 8-4 loss to Lee County in the opening game to even the series at one game apiece with a 6-3 victory in the nightcap.

The Jaguars led 4-0 late in the opener only to have some miscues that lead to Lee County rallying for the 8-4 win. Stephenson rode the arm and bat of Joseph Jackson to the 6-3 win in the second game.

Jackson had a big two-run homer to spark the second game victory for the Jaguars.

Stephenson hosts Lee County in the deciding third game today at 3:00 pm.

DeKalb did not fare as well in its other two Class 6A series as Tucker fell 16-4 and 13-3 to Coffee County and Martin Luther King Jr. dropped 17-0 and 15-0 decisions to Valdosta.

Class 3A
The Redan Raiders came close to a sweep of Morgan County, but had to win the second game to force game three today at 5:30 pm at Morgan County.

Redan had gone up 11-7 in the fifth, but gave up five runs in the seventh to fall 12-11 in the opener. A 6-5 win 10 innings in the nightcap forced the third game.

Class 4A/2A
Druid Hills and McNair were both eliminated in 2-0 series loss in their opening round playoff matchups. Druid Hills fell 11-0, 15-0 to Cairo in Class 4A and McNair lost 28-0, 21-0 to Chattooga in Class 2A play.

DCSD BASEBALL STATE PLAYOFFS RESULTS
Wednesday, May 24
Class 7A
North Gwinnett 13, Lakeside 2
North Gwinnett 10, Lakeside 0
North Gwinnett wins best-of-three series 2-0

Class 6A
Lee County 8, Stephenson 4
Stephenson 6, Lee County 3
Series tied at 1-1

Coffee Co. 16, Tucker 4
Coffee Co. 13, Tucker 3
Coffee Co. wins best-of-three series 2-0

Valdosta 17, M.L. King Jr. 0
Valdosta 15, M.L. King Jr. 0
Valdosta wins best-of-three series 2-0

Class 5A
SW DeKalb 16, Clarke Central 6
SW DeKalb 16, Clarke Central 6
SW DeKalb wins best-of-three series 2-0

Walnut Grove 7, Chamblee 0
Walnut Grove 6, Chamblee 2
Walnut Grove wins best-of-three series 2-0

Buford 13, Arabia Mountain 3
Buford 15, Arabia Mountain 0
Buford wins best-of-three series 2-0

Loganville 10, Lithonia 3
Loganville 13, Lithonia 0
Loganville wins best-of-three series 2-0

Class 4A
Cairo 11, Druid Hills 0
Cairo 15, Druid Hills 0
Cairo wins best-of-three series 2-0

Class 3A
Morgan Co. 12, Redan 11
Redan 6, Morgan Co. 5
Series tied at 1-1

Class 2A
Chattooga 28, McNair 0
Chattooga 21, McNair 0

DCSD BASEBALL STATE PLAYOFFS SCHEDULE
Thursday, April 25
Class 6A (Game 3)
Lee Co. at Stephenson, 3:00 pm

Class 3A (Game 3)
Redan at Morgan Co., 5:30 pm

Thursday, May 2
Class 5A
Riverwood/East Paulding winner at SW DeKalb (18-4), 2:00 pm DH