High School Softball

Region tournaments heat up this week

The high school softball season begins in the brutal heat of August. But it doesn’t truly warm up until October.

With the regular season now in the books, local teams turn their attention to region tournaments this week, with their sights set on trips to the GHSA Elite 8 in Columbus starting on Halloween.

The goal will be to survive and advance starting Tuesday, with East Coweta, Newnan and Northgate (19-3-1) all but guaranteed to move on to the first of two rounds of state playoff series.

Newnan hosts this year’s Region 3-AAAAAA tournament after earning home field and the No. 1 seed with a 17-5 record that’s included wins over both county rivals during the regular season.

Both the Lady Cougars and East Coweta (21-5) have clinched state berths among the top-four teams during the regular season. A double-elimination format begins with No. 2 East Coweta playing No. 3 Westlake at 4:30 p.m. at Newnan, followed by a game between the Lady Cougars and No. 4 Douglas County.

Newnan finished the 3-AAAAAA schedule at 5-0. It included a 6-5 win over the Lady Indians, who seem destined for a rematch in Wednesday’s finals, with a possible ‘if’ game available on Thursday.

Both local teams dominated their semifinal opponents during the regular season. East Coweta defeated Westlake 11-2 while Newnan blanked Douglas County 14-0.

In Region 4-AAAAA, No. 1 state-ranked Northgate can officially clinch its trip to the state playoffs by defeating the region’s No. 8 seeded team, Mt. Zion-Jonesboro at home on Tuesday at 5 p.m. The Lady Bulldogs did not score a run against five of the eight region tournament qualifiers during the regular season.

Four first-round winners in 4-AAAAA advance to Mosley Park in Henry County on Thursday to decide seeding for the state tournament. Northgate, Ola and Union Grove were all ranked in the Class AAAAA top-10 last week.

The Lady Vikings finished the regular season at 10-0 in 4-AAAAA play, a game ahead of No. 2 Ola. Northgate, led by senior pitcher McKenzie Peace, held on for a 1-0 victory when the teams met during the regular season. The Lady Mustangs (21-6) enter this week on an 11-game win streak.

Starr’s Mill (7-3), Union Grove (7-3) and Whitewater (6-4) also ended the regular season with winning records in 4-AAAAA.

All three county lineups stayed busy during the final week of play prior to the postseason. Northgate held off East Coweta 3-2 despite managing one hit on Tuesday before having its 16-game win streak snapped by Newnan in a 1-0 loss on Thursday.



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