September 20, 2013

Southeast Whitfield softball is limping along

Devin Golden

— With just seven players healthy enough to take the field, Southeast Whitfield High School’s softball team was unable to play Thursday night’s scheduled Sub-region 7B-4A game at Northwest Whitfield.

Whether other games will be postponed — or the season is altogether canceled — remains to be seen.

Southeast coach Kelley Barton said injuries kept the Lady Raiders from playing Thursday, although she declined to name the injured players. The Lady Raiders were able to play twice earlier this week, losing 7-3 at Dalton on Tuesday and 8-0 on Wednesday to Heritage-Catoosa.

Asked if the injuries are long term, Barton said, “We’re not certain yet. We’re not sure.”

Georgia High School Association teams follow the National Federation of State High School Associations’ rules, which require each team in a game to start the contest with nine players in the lineup. With the Lady Raiders currently two short of the minimum, Barton said the team may have to continue searching for others to fill the roster.

“We’re just trying to work to figure this out,” Barton said. “We’re going to do what we have to do to finish strong.”

Barton, Southeast athletic director Mark Lentych and Northwest coach Jason Brooker said the teams will attempt to reschedule Thursday’s game, which affects multiple teams because it is a sub-region contest. Sub-region standings are used to determine seeding for the region tournament.

“It’s dependent on the calendar and availability of players, but we will try our best,” Lentych said. “Anything can happen that we can’t prepare for, but right now we’re expecting to be back out on the field and playing for the next game.”

All of Southeast’s remaining scheduled games are in sub-region play. The Lady Raiders, who are 7-14 overall and 1-6 in Sub-region 7B-4A, are slated to play at LaFayette on Tuesday and at Ridgeland on Thursday.

The Region 7-4A tournament is Oct. 5-12 at Heritage Point in Dalton. The top four finishers there earn spots in the Class 4A state playoffs.