September 30, 2013

A Look Ahead: Postseason almost here for prep softball


— For the past two years, Northwest Whitfield High School’s softball team has claimed the championship at the Region 7-4A tournament.

This weekend, the Lady Bruins will go for their third title in a row — and their fourth in five seasons — while other teams in Murray and Whitfield counties will also begin their push for a championship banner.

Three region tournaments involving local teams begin Saturday. In Region 7-2A, Murray County — which finishes its region schedule this week — will compete at Alto Park in Rome. In Region 5-3A, where region games also remain to be played this week, Coahulla Creek and North Murray will play at Hamilton Crossing in Adairsville. In Region 7-4A, Dalton and Southeast Whitfield will join the Lady Bruins at the Heritage Point complex in Dalton.

Some seeding has yet to be finalized for the latter region, and while Dalton is done for the regular season, Southeast and Northwest won’t close out their region schedules until they meet in a makeup game at 5:55 p.m. today in Tunnel Hill. What is known is that Northwest will be the No. 2 seed from Sub-region 7B-4A — Heritage-Catoosa is No. 1 — while Dalton is No. 5 and Southeast is No. 6.

The top four finishers in each of the previously mentioned regions will advance to their respective classification’s 32-team state bracket. Teams will play best-of-three series in the first two rounds of the playoffs, with the eight teams that survive advancing to a double-elimination tournament in Columbus to determine the state champion.

Christian Heritage’s softball team, which competes in Region 6-A, is also in the running for the postseason.

Lady Lions coach Mike Leonard is waiting on word to see whether a game that was not played last week at Trion — because no umpires were on hand — will count as a forfeit for his team or whether the game will be made up this week. What could be at stake for Christian Heritage is a spot in its region tournament.

However, whether or not the Lady Lions make the region tournament, who makes the state playoffs for Class A — the top 16 teams each in private school and public school divisions for the postseason — will be determined by the Georgia High School Association’s power ratings system. The Lady Lions were 16th in the most recent ratings, and they’ll need to hold that spot — or advance automatically by winning a region title — if they want to compete in the state playoffs for the first time since joining the GHSA last season.

• Dalton State College’s men’s golf team will compete close to home today and Tuesday at Berry College’s 36-hole Chick-fil-A Classic in Rome.

The Roadrunners are one of 22 teams in the field, with each team playing one round at Coosa Country Club and the other at Stonebridge Golf Club. Dalton State golfers will tee off today at 1 p.m. at Coosa Country Club and Tuesday morning at Stonebridge.

Eleven teams in the field are from Georgia, with other teams coming as far as Indiana and New York. Alabama, Mississippi, North Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia also have schools making the trip.

• Time is winding down to sign up to play or sponsor a hole for the Dr. Bill Gregory Memorial Golf Tournament.

The Dalton First United Methodist Church event returns for its eight year a week from today at Indian Trace Golf Course in Chatsworth, with play starting at 1 p.m.

The entry fee is $100 per player, and hole sponsorships are the same price. Prizes go to the top two teams and there will be competitions for the longest drive and closest shot to the pin. Proceeds from the event will benefit the church’s mission program. To learn more, call (706) 278-8494.

There are also several other benefit golf tournaments scheduled, and you can find out more about those by going to daltonnow.com/events and checking out our Local Sports Calendar.



Devin Golden is a sports writer for The Daily Citizen. If you have something you think he should highlight in “A Look Ahead,” write to devingolden@daltoncitizen.com.