The most pressing question will be answered Tuesday evening, when Pope hosts Creekview in a crucial Region 7AAAAA showdown that will determine the two teams that will battle in the best-of-three region championship series next week.
Creekview (8-1 in region play), Sequoyah (8-2) and Pope (7-2) all have an opportunity to make the title series. But because of tiebreaker scenarios, Pope must beat Creekview by seven or more runs to make the final.
If that happens, Pope and Sequoyah would play for the crown. But if the defending champion Lady Greyhounds win by fewer than seven runs, they would secure the No. 3 seed and play in next week’s double-elimination region tournament to determine the third- and fourth-seeded teams for the state playoff.
A loss and Pope could land anywhere from No. 3 to No. 6 in the region tournament.
“We turned the momentum around,” Pope coach Chris Turco said. “We’ve won 10 in a row, and the team’s been talking about how we want to be playing our best softball in October. Our goal is to get back to (the state finals in) Columbus. Creekview’s a good team and it will be tough to score seven runs on them. If it works out, great. We just want to take momentum into Columbus and, so far, things are going well.”
Allatoona (10-0 in Region 5AAAAA), which won its first region title last year, saw its regular season come to a close last week. The defending champion Lady Buccaneers start their region tournament Tuesday as the host and No. 1 seed, while No. 2-seeded Woodland-Bartow will host some first- and second-round games.
“We’ve been playing well in recently,” Allatoona coach Troy Pirkle said. “I’m seeing us do some good things at the right time on defense, in our pitching and in our hitting. Getting the consistency overall has been good to see because there are a lot of good teams in this region.”
Several factors went into Region 5AAAAA starting its tournament earlier than others. The championship game is set for Oct. 10.
“The GHSA added a week to the season, but the schedules in our region were already set,” Pirkle said. “We decided we didn’t want to change our schedules and left them alone. Plus, our region is spread out, so there’s less travel to worry about.”
Allatoona’s 11-team region stretches as north as Rome, to as south as Douglasville and Villa Rica.
Hillgrove (6-1) and Kennesaw Mountain (6-1) have already guaranteed their places in Region 4AAAAAA’s best-of-three championship series, which will be held next week at top-seeded Hillgrove. The Lady Hawks owned the tiebreaker over the Lady Mustangs after beating them Sept. 17.
Lassiter (7-0) is in control of Region 5AAAAAA and will host the region tournament next week. No. 2 seed Woodstock will host some first- and second-round games.
“We’re fortunate to be the No. 1 seed, but we still have to finish the year well,” Lassiter coach Jason Campbell said. “If we play like we’ve played all season, we give ourselves a chance.”
Campbell will know even more about his team after tonight, after the Lady Trojans host Marist in a non-region tuneup.
“We played Marist at the beginning of the year and had to come back in the seventh to tie, and then we beat them in extra innings,” Campbell said. “It will be interesting to see how we compare ourselves from that game to now. I’m interested in seeing how it goes and to see our progress.”
Seeds haven’t been decided for the local teams of Region 6A — Whitefield Academy, Walker, Mount Paran Christian and North Cobb Christian — which begin their tournament next week.
The 6A champion will get an automatic bid into state playoffs, while the other seeds will be decided by the Georgia High School Association’s power ratings system for the private- and public-school brackets.