April 13, 2014

Devin Golden: Area aims for multiple tennis titles in tourneys

Afew local high school tennis teams have had successful regular seasons and they aim for bigger achievements this week in the region tournaments.

Murray County’s girls are right there near the front of the Region 7-2A pack.

The Lady Indians enter this week’s bracket the No. 2 seed in the league and face Dade County Tuesday at 9 a.m. at the Calhoun Tennis Center. The tournament concludes Wednesday with the top-four teams earning spots in the Class 2A state tournament. Murray County hopes for at least one of the top two spots, which would give the squad at least one home match in the state postseason.

Murray County finished the regular season 13-1 overall and 6-1 in region matches and concluded Friday with a 4-1 victory against Pepperell. The Lady Indians have received strong contributions from all three singles competitors in No. 1 Greta Lazzarotto, No. 2 Gabbie Bordelon and No. 2 Allison Jones. They swept the singles matches in both of Murray County’s wins last week. The team also has strong doubles pairing with No. 1 Chloe Brown and Kailey Webb, another two-match winner this past week.

Murray County isn’t alone in tennis success this year.

Both of Dalton’s teams enter the Region 7-4A tournament, which also begins Tuesday, as No. 1 seeds from Sub-region 7B. Dalton hosts the tournament at Lakeshore Park in Dalton. The boys team is 13-4 this season and the girls are 8-9, but both swept all five sub-region matches.

In the girls bracket, Dalton and Cass have first-round byes. The Lady Catamounts face the winner of No. 5 seed Southeast Whitfield’s matchup with No. 4 seed Pickens at 3 p.m. in the quarterfinals. Northwest Whitfield, a third seed, faces No. 2 seed Cedartown at noon in the quarterfinals.

On the boys side, Dalton and River Ridge await their quarterfinals opponents as the sub-region champs. Dalton faces the Southeast-Gilmer winner at 3 p.m. and Northwest, again a third seed, is again matched with No. 2 seed Cedartown at noon in the quarterfinals.

The semifinal matches are Wednesday morning at 10 and 11:30, and the third-place matches for both brackets are at 2 p.m. The finals are set for 3:30 p.m.

In Region 5-3A, Coahulla Creek has shined during the regular season and is positioned for a possible postseason run.

The boys team holds the top seed for Tuesday’s start to the tournament at Dellinger Park in Cartersville. Coahulla Creek faces Gordon Central in the first round and could see North Murray in Wednesday’s semifinals if the fifth-seeded Mountaineers defeat No. 4 seed Adairsville in the first round.

On the girls side, a local-versus-local matchup will happen as second-seeded Coahulla Creek faces No. 7 seed North Murray at 11 a.m. Tuesday in the first round.

The tournaments conclude Wednesday afternoon at 2:30 p.m.

Christian Heritage’s boys team finished first in Sub-region 6A-A but the Region 6 tournament for the Lions won’t begin until April 22. The Lady Lions, finishing fifth in their sub-region, must play No. 4 seed North Cobb Christian by Friday, according to the Class A bracket submitted by Christian Heritage coaches.

• Region meets for track and field teams are this week with regions 7-4A and 5-3A starting today and finishing Tuesday, weather permitting. Region 7-2A plans to start Tuesday and finish Wednesday.

Murray County and the 7-2A field compete at Pepperell High School, and Coahulla Creek and North Murray join the 5-3A teams at Gordon Central High School.

Northwest and Southeast, along with the other 7-4A teams, converge on Dalton High School with the host Catamounts.

• Speaking of the Catamounts, this week is an all-too-important one for Dalton’s baseball team.

After ending on the wrong side of a three-game sweep last week to Northwest, Dalton is 8-4 and tied with its next series opponent, Heritage-Catoosa, for the sub-region’s No. 2 spot.

Similar to last season, Dalton needs to win at least two of three against Heritage to finish second. The Catamounts only won once in three tries last year, finished third and missed the state postseason after losing the region playoffs series against River Ridge.

This week’s entire high school sports schedule is on page 3B.

• Speaking of baseball, everyone was worried about the Atlanta Braves’ pitching entering the season after two starters suffered season-ending injuries in spring training.

No big deal, though, because the Braves turned to bargain-bin pick-up Aaron Harang. He is a sleeper candidate in my way-too-early National League Cy Young race.

The career 112-117 pitcher is 2-1 this year after Sunday’s 10-2 win over the Washington Nationals, but should be 3-0 if not for poor offensive support in a 4-0 loss to the New York Mets when he only was responsible for allowing one run. He’s third in the NL in ERA (0.96), third in opponent batting average (.143) and first in opponent on-base-plus-slugging percentage (.360). He’s also carrying both of my fantasy baseball teams, and I’m not even a Braves fan.

For Harang’s next start, I expect a 27-strikeout perfect game. Let’s get this Cy Young bandwagon going!

• The Georgia Rampage continue their season Saturday at home against the St. Louis Attack. The team has lost all three of its games this season. They have five more games to turn things around and finish the inaugural X-League season with a .500 record, or better.

The game begins at 7 p.m. at the trade center. To buy tickets, visit GaRampage.com.

• And breaking away from the “A Look Ahead” theme, I will look back to Wrestlemania 30.

The Undertaker lost to Brock Lesnar and everything I’ve ever known about this world has been turned upside down. This was like if the Dalton boys soccer team’s undefeated streak (37 matches) ended against LaFayette. I have no direction anymore in life. Is the sky purple? I can’t tell.

The Undertaker’s undefeated streak at Wrestlemania — which WWE always made us believe was protected by higher powers — ended at 21 matches. He’s now 21-1. That removes a lot of the mystique from Wrestlemania. I am upset about this, and you should be, too.

Devin Golden is a sports writer with The Daily Citizen and the king of Twitter. You can follow him at @GoldenDev or email him at devingolden@daltoncitizen.com

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