GHSA, Braves announce deal; state final to be played at SunTrust Park

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The Class AAAAAAA baseball finals will be played May 20-21 at SunTrust Park, the Braves’ home stadium, marking the first time a GHSA championship series has been held in a major league stadium, the GHSA announced Thursday.

‘’To be able to provide that type of experience for our student-athletes is really incredible,’’ GHSA executive director Robin Hines said. “It’s going to be a great time for them. It will be very exciting.’’

Two other championship series will be played at State Mutual Park in Rome and one at Coolray Field in Lawrenceville. The classifications that will be contested in those venues have not been announced.

The GHSA stages eight championship series overall. Sites for the other four will be Luther Williams Field in Macon and Grayson Stadium in Savannah.

State Mutual Park and Coolray Field are home to Braves minor league teams, the Rome Braves of Class A and the Gwinnett Stripers of AAA. GHSA finals have been played in those parks before.

The deals with SunTrust Park, State Mutual Park and Coolray Field are part of a new partnership between the GHSA and the Braves that is designed to expand youth baseball and softball in Georgia, according to the GHSA.

As part of the deal, the Braves will conduct clinics for high school and youth coaches at SunTrust Park. They will be run by Braves coaches and former Braves players.

The Braves also will host the Atlanta Baseball Series in April with eight Georgia high school teams playing games at SunTrust Park to wrap up the regular-season. This year the teams will play on April 19 and April 20.

In the fall, the Braves will host their first high school fastpitch softball tournament.

The AAAAAA finals will start May 20 with a double header beginning at 5 p.m. A third game, if necessary, would be played May 21. The Rome finals will be played May 21-23. The final at Coolray Field will be May 20-21.

The Braves will host GHSA Champion’s Day at SunTrust Park on June 2 during a game against the Detroit Tigers. The Braves will recognize the baseball and softball quarterfinal, semifinal, runners-up and champions before the game.

“As an organization, we strive to help grow the game of baseball and softball,” Braves president and CEO Derek Schiller said in a statement. ‘’Sports play a significant role in youth development, both on-and-off the field, and we are proud to host high school events at our facilities to create once-in-a-lifetime experiences for these student-athletes.”

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