McEachern and Walton will try to play the deciding games of their first-round Class AAAAAA state playoff series Monday — providing the weather cooperates. According to the National Weather Service, the forecast is for a 60-percent chance of rain with thunderstorms in the afternoon.
McEachern hopes to face Tift County at 4 p.m., while Walton will get its game against South Gwinnett started at 6 p.m. If rain postpones the games again, the game times will be the same for Tuesday, when the weather is forecasted to be sunny and dry.
Walton coach Shane Amos said he will be monitoring the weather throughout the school day Monday.
“I’ll watch the weather a silly amount,” he said. “If it were to rain 4 or 5 inches through (today), it may be difficult for me and one other coach to get the field ready in time.
“We’ll probably wait no later than 2 p.m. (on Monday), and then we’ll have to make a decision. If there is any way to play and keep the kids safe on the field, we’ll do it.”
With Tift County having to make the three-hour drive north back to Powder Springs, McEachern coach Dan Torrenti said he will have to make a call a lot sooner than Amos.
“It will be early,” Torrenti said on when he would talk to Tift coach Kyle Kirk, who wants to have his team travel as early as possible. “I’ll get to the field around 6:30 a.m. or 7 a.m. (to look at the situation), and I’ll try to catch them early and allow them to make the decision to wait another hour or two before starting their trip.”
Like Amos, Torrenti said the amount of rain that falls today and early Monday could force the game to Tuesday, just because the field may be too saturated.
“Our field drains well, but it doesn’t drain as well when it’s got 3 inches (of rain) on it,” he said.
Walton had the best chance of the two Cobb teams to avoid a Game 3.
The Raiders won their first game with South Gwinnett 10-3, then had a 6-0 lead in Game 2 before the Comets came back to win 7-6.
Amos said the extra time off may benefit his team.
“For us, losing Game 2 the way we did, the extra days probably helps because the momentum (South Gwinnett) had will have a chance to cool down a little bit,” he said.
McEachern is in the opposite position.
The Indians had their bats shut down in a 3-1 Game 1 loss, with Tift starter Zac Bullard pitching a three-hitter, and they faced more of the same through four innings of Game 2 before their bats woke up to produce 10 runs over the final three innings.
McEachern salvaged a doubleheader split with an 11-4 win.
“You can’t allow yourself to get caught up in these kind of things,” Torrenti said. “The best team is going to come out of this, and all we can do is control the controllables.”
With the games being pushed back, unless the Game 3 starters go the distance, Walton and McEachern could face their bullpens being overtaxed with the possibility of playing up to four games in four days.
Second-round series are scheduled to begin with doubleheaders Wednesday, and a potential third game Thursday.
“Whoever wins these games could be at a disadvantage heading into the next round,” Amos said.
Four local teams — Marietta, Kell, Pope and Mount Paran Christian — avoided the scheduling changes after sweeping their series Friday. Two others — Harrison and Hillgrove — were the victims of sweeps.