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September 9, 2013

A Look Ahead: Softball showdown may be region title clash preview

In the northwest Georgia high school softball scene, Heritage-Catoosa and Northwest Whitfield have developed quite a rivalry at the top of Region 7-4A, with Northwest topping Heritage for last year’s league title.

Some even held the reasonable expectation that the rivalry would continue at the state level last year, with the Lady Generals and Lady Bruins seemingly on a path toward a clash in Columbus, where the top eight teams in each classification compete for their respective state titles.

Northwest held up its end of the deal and advanced to Columbus — the Lady Bruins, in fact, won state — but their postseason didn’t include any state tournament victories against Heritage. The Lady Generals lost in the second round of the Class 4A playoffs to Madison County, the team Northwest ended up beating for the title.

But this year both teams are still at the top of the region, and league play should get interesting with the first meeting of the year between the two at 5:55 p.m. Tuesday in Ringgold.

The Lady Bruins and Lady Generals both enter the matchup with 4-0 records in Sub-region 7B-4A, which proved to be the region’s dominant half last year by claiming three of 7-4A’s four state berths. Both look like contenders for a region title again this season.

Northwest is 15-1 overall, while Heritage is 17-3, and judging by what was said by some fans at last year’s region tournament at Heritage Point, there isn’t a lot of love between the two teams.

The Lady Bruins are also coming off of their first loss of the season, having fallen in a 7-0 mercy-rule game on Saturday against Cherokee.

While the Lady Bruins bounced back from that loss with a pair of wins on Saturday, it will be interesting to see if any of their confidence has been shaken heading on the road against a very tough Heritage team.

Here’s a look ahead at what else is going on in the area:

• Another intriguing softball storyline for this week comes from Coahulla Creek.

Coach Josh Swiney’s team has proven to be one of the surprise success stories this season, and this week should go a long way toward seeing exactly where the Lady Colts stand.

On Tuesday, Coahulla Creek (14-4, 5-1 Region 5-3A) hosts Cartersville, and on Thursday the Lady Colts head to Ringgold — the only team in the region to deal them a loss this season. Ringgold, which is 11-3 overall, is 7-0 in league play and the only undefeated team in the region standings.

For this week’s complete local prep schedule, please see the Scoreboard section on page 3B.

• Dalton State College’s women’s volleyball won’t hold its first “home” match until Sept. 19, when the Roadrunners host Reinhardt University at Dalton High School, but they’ll make a very short trip for their next match.

On Friday they head to Lookout Mountain for a 7 p.m. match with Covenant College. The Roadrunners are in the hunt for their second victory this season and would no doubt be glad to have some fans in blue and white in the stands.

• Golfers have plenty of options when it comes to charity tournaments over the next several weeks, and you can find out more about those competitions by going online to daltonnow.com/events to view our Local Sports Calendar. There’s also information there about how to let others know about your local sports happening.

Chris Whitfield is a sports writer for The Daily Citizen. Have something you think he should highlight in “A Look Ahead”? Write to him at chriswhitfield@daltoncitizen.com.

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