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Playoffs start today

Willie Moore guided Dallas County High School to a repeat area championship this season and has the Hornets ready to host Clarke County today in a doubleheader in the first round of the AHSAA state baseball playoffs.

The area championship is the third Moore has coached in the calendar year after winning the area in basketball and softball last season.

“I’m pretty pleased, but I’m not satisfied,” Moore said. “Our goal is to win this playoff series at home.”

Joining the Hornets in the playoffs are Southside and Francis-Marion, who will both take to the road.

Southside must face Thomasville, and Francis-Marion will play Zion Chapel.

Both the Hornets and Panthers will face tough opponents and both coaches cited not committing errors as the key to winning.

“We have to eliminate small things like wild pitches,” Southside coach LaMorris Jones said. “If we do that, I think we have a shot against anyone.”

The Panthers are facing last year’s 4A runner-up in Thomasville, but Jones said he’s not intimated.

“We’re working every day to get better, and we’re ahead of schedule,” Jones said. “We stumbled in our last couple of games, and we’re not as sharp as I hoped we’d be. Hopefully we can put it all together.”

Moore had his players stay late after their game Wednesday to cut grass and hang signs around the field in advance of the home series.

He also said it will be execution and attention to detail that will make the difference.

“We need to not beat ourselves,” Moore said. “We’ve been tested and played a competitive schedule to prepare to play this team. We’re going to have to do the little things well.”

Both teams finished the same as last year — Dallas County as a champion and Southside as a runner-up — and both are hoping to avoid the quick ouster they experienced last season.

“Last year we were shell-shocked, and just happy to be there,” Jones said. “We didn’t know what to expect. This year we beefed up the schedule, and we shouldn’t be intimidated.”

Southside will play Thomasville at 3 and 5:30 p.m. A third game will be played Saturday at noon if needed.

Dallas County hosts Clarke County at 1 and 3:30 p.m. with the rubber game slated for Saturday if needed.

Francis-Marion will play at 1 and 3 p.m. and 1 p.m. Saturday if needed.