When the first round of the GHSA softball playoffs start this week, every team will have the same goal – advancing to the Elite Eight in Columbus from Oct. 26 through the 28th.
That’s the measuring stick for high school softball in Georgia, and it’s something East Coweta, Newnan and Northgate have all experienced many times over the years.
For East Coweta and Newnan, taking that first step toward Columbus begins today when they open their best-of-three series at home in the Class AAAAAAA tournament.
East Coweta will host Peachtree Ridge, while Newnan takes on Colquitt County.
Both series begin with a doubleheader today at 4 p.m. A third-and deciding contest will be played Saturday if needed.
Northgate will begin its post-season Friday at home with a doubleheader against Harrison at 5 p.m. in the Class AAAAAA tournament.
East Coweta enters the tournament with a bullseye on its back after going through the regular season with a 28-0 record, including capturing the Region 2-AAAAAAA title.
The Lady Indians beat 20 of their opponents by shutout, including rival Newnan twice by scores of 3-0 and 6-0 in the region tournament.
Pitchers Kelley Lynch, Rachel Vaughan and Aniston Wright have all helped lead the Lady Indians to the undefeated season with stellar work from the pitching circle.
In the team’s victory over Newnan to clinch the region tournament title, Lynch held Newnan to just one hit while striking out 15 batters. Lynch and Ansley Gunter both homered in the victory over Newan.
They face a Peachtree Ridge team that finished the season with a 11-10 record. Peachtree Ridge struggled at the plate this season, and finished with a team batting average of .263.
Felise Collins has been the team’s most potent hitter, finishing with a .333 average and 16 RBIs.
Newnan comes into its first-round game with a 22-4 record. Three of its losses were against rival East Coweta.
Addie Andrews has handled the bulk of the pitching duties for the Lady Cougars.
Danielle Curlee and Reagen London each showed offense power this season with several home runs.
They take on a Colquitt County team that finished the regular season 14-12. The Lady Packers have lost three of their last five games.
On Friday, Northgate takes on a Harrison squad that finished with a 17-10 record.
Northgate comes into the tournament with an 18-11 record.
The Lady Vikings came out of the loser’s bracket at the Region 5-AAAAAA tournament and earned the No. 2 seed after losing to Alexander in the championship.
Northgate rolled past Douglas County 17-0 and South Paulding 9-1 during the tournament to set up its showdown with Alexander.
In the first meeting between Northgate and Alexander, Alexis Brandon had two RBIs and Alissa Bolinger had three strikeouts for the Lady Vikings.
In their 17-0 blowout of Douglas County, Maddie Maxey hit a homer for the Lady Vikings and Sasha Morawietz struck out two.
Harrison has shown some offense firepower and enters the first round of the GHSA tournament with a .348 batting average. Sara Peterson led the team with 10 home runs.
The third-and-deciding game for each series will be played Saturday.