The postseason in Georgia prep softball begins Saturday, a time when favorites get nervous and underdogs dream of glory.
Regions 7-AAAA, 5-AAA and 7-AA begin tournament play Saturday with four state playoff berths awaiting the fortunate survivors. Region 6-A, with Gordon Lee the heavy favorite, begins play Monday, where only the tournament champion is guaranteed a playoff berth.
Regular season wins mean little more than seeding and, at least in 7-AAAA and 5-AAA, the possibility for upset is great.
"It would not surprise me in the least to see an upset or two in our tournament," said Heritage coach Steve Chattin, whose team is the top seed at the 7-AAAA event at Dalton's Heritage Pointe Park. "Just from our half of the region, each of the teams is capable. I mean LaFayette is the No. 5 seed and they spanked us (10-1) and beat Ringgold (Region 5-AAA's top seed). Dalton, the No. 4 seed, beat LaFayette twice.
"I hope we learned from that LaFayette loss not to take anything for granted. If you do, you'll pay."
The same can be said of 5-AAA, which will be played in Cartersville. Ringgold, which closes out its region schedule tonight against Adairsville, is unbeaten in 5-AAA and heavily favored to repeat as tournament champions. However, late-season narrow wins over a pair of contenders has the Lady Tigers on edge.
"We've got to get out of the region tournament before we can afford to look ahead," Ringgold coach Rachel Hodge said. "Our bats are starting to come back around, so that's a good sign. It's anybody's ball game. I've been the seventh or eighth seed to get there and make it to Columbus. It's always possible."
No. 3 seed Coahulla Creek may be this year's top Cinderella candidate. The 18-7 Lady Colts are riding the hot pitching senior Erin Harden, who has made her one season at the school a memorable one.
"She's been unbelievable all season," coach Josh Swiney said. "She missed all of last year after transferring over and on top of that she tore her ACL last winter. She came into the season with that mentality of having a great senior year and she has. If we can become more consistent at the plate, this team can play with anyone.
"If you have pitching like we have and you peak at the right time, anything can happen. This team has the makeup to do just that."
Contact Lindsey Young at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 423-757-6296.
Lindsey Young is a sports writer at the Chattanooga Times Free Press who started work at the Chattanooga News-Free Press 24 years ago. He covers the Northwest Georgia prep beat and NASCAR. Lindsey’s hometown is Ringgold, Ga., and he graduated from Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe High School. He received an associate’s degree from Dalton Junior College (now Dalton State) and a bachelor’s degree in communications from UTC. He has won several writing awards, including two Tennessee Sports ...