October 21, 2013

A Look Ahead: Road trips in store for state softball, volleyball matchups

— It’s true you’ll have to cover some miles Wednesday — and maybe Thursday, too — to watch local softball teams compete in the second round of the Georgia High School Association state playoffs.

But maybe fans should just consider it a warmup for an eventual trip to Columbus.

For North Murray and Northwest Whitfield, two more wins are the only thing stopping them from being one of the eight teams in their respective classifications’ state tournament bracket and making that journey to Columbus.

North Murray is at Franklin County in the Class 3A state playoffs, with the first game of the best-of-three series starting at 5 p.m. Wednesday and the second game to follow. The Lady Bruins will be at Atlanta’s Marist in the Class 4A state playoffs, with the first game of the series beginning at 4 p.m. Wednesday and the second game following.

If necessary, the teams will play again on Thursday in winner-takes-all matchups. The final eight state tournament is set for Oct. 31 through Nov. 2 in Columbus.

• Don’t forget high school volleyball, where Southeast Whitfield is the lone area team still serving and spiking with hopes of a state title.

The Lady Raiders will warm the road for the Lady Bruins’ softball team and make the trip down I-75 to Marist for a second-round matchup in the Class 4A state tournament at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday. Southeast advanced to the semifinals a year ago before its postseason run ended.

• Dalton State College’s women’s volleyball team will finish its home slate today and the school’s men’s basketball team will play its first game — a scrimmage — in front of fans on Saturday.

Dalton State’s first volleyball season is nearing its end, but fans won’t have to travel far for today’s 7 p.m. match at the Dalton Parks and Recreation Department’s Mack Gaston Community Center. The Roadrunners take on Oakwood University of Huntsville, Ala.

On Saturday, Dalton State’s men’s basketball team — the first one to take the court since what was then known as Dalton Junior College left the floor in the 1970s — will play its “Silver and Blue” scrimmage game at Dalton High School’s Cats Den. The intrasquad scrimmage will begin at 7:30 p.m. and admission is free.

• The Dalton Red Carpet’s half marathon, 5K and 2K races will take place Saturday, with competition beginning and finishing in downtown Dalton.

The half marathon and 5K races are set to begin at 8 a.m., and the 2K race will start at 10:30 a.m. Registration is still available for all three races — $65 for the half marathon, $30 for the 5K and $15 for the 2K. Register online at daltonredcarpethalfmarathon.com.

Proceeds will benefit the City of Refuge Dalton and Family Promise of Dalton charities. After the races, the Liberty Tree BBQ and Music Festival kicks off with food, kids’ games and live music. The cost to enter the festival is $5, although children younger than 12 will be admitted free and runners from the half marathon and 5K races receive two tickets to the festival.

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