October 5, 2013

Championship chase starts today for softball teams


Region 5-3A

North Murray didn’t know its seed or first-round opponent until Thursday night as Region 5-3A’s regular season schedule wrapped up, but the Lady Mountaineers (11-15) already knew their seed wouldn’t be among the top four.

That means they also knew they would need to perform better than their seed to reach the state playoffs for a third straight year.

North Murray is the No. 5 seed and will play Adairsville at 4 p.m. The winner faces third-seeded Coahulla Creek at 6 p.m., while the loser won’t play again until Monday.

Somewhere along the way, the Lady Mountaineers either need to beat a team seeded better than them or hope another low-seeded team handles the upset.

Making a run starts with a few small things “going your way,” North Murray coach Steve Granger said.

“A couple bloopers here and there and your team starts believing,” he added. “I think our region, top to bottom, is competitive. I think anyone can win on any given night.”

The Lady Mountaineers returned seven starters from last season — seven girls who know how to win enough games in the region tournament to reach the state playoffs.

“Going in, it’s not going to be too overwhelming for them,” said Granger, who’s in his first season leading the team. “They have been there. They know what to expect and what is at stake. Hopefully, that will benefit us.”

Coahulla Creek, by comparison, hasn’t advanced past the region tournament in its two seasons of existence. The Lady Colts (18-6) are seeded third this year, though, and advancing to state is their lowest of expectations at this point.

“I think we have a good chance of winning the region,” said Coahulla Creek coach Josh Swiney, another first-year coach. “We played a great game against Ringgold the last time we played them and also played a great game against Cartersville. I think we have as good a shot as anybody to win it.”

Ringgold is the region’s No. 1 seed and Cartersville is No. 2. The Lady Colts can advance to state by avoiding an upset against the teams they went 10-0 against during region play.

“That can give you a little confidence,” Swiney said. “At the same time, we know we have to go out and play our game.”

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