Second round, best-of-three series starting today
Pope at Northwest Whitfield (DH), 5:30
Ringgold at Carrollton (DH), 4:30
Columbus at Heritage (DH), 5:30
Lakeview-F.O. at Greater Atlanta Christian (DH), 5
Lovett at Fannin County (DH), 5
North Murray at Buford (DH), 5
Athens Christian at Gordon Lee (DH)
Tony Ellis would love a little payback, and he and his Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe Lady Warriors will get their shot in the second round of the Georgia high school softball playoffs today.
The Lady Warriors were among the favorites in Class AA last year when Greater Atlanta Christian came to LFO and upset them in a high-scoring series. This time LFO (22-10) is the visiting underdog while the Lady Spartans (29-6) are AA's top-ranked team.
"Sure, it would be nice to turn the tables on them," Ellis said. "But we know they're really good, even though they lost several good players from last year. We played them early in a tournament and lost 7-5, so I expect a good series with a lot of runs, just like last year."
LFO is one of three Catoosa County teams trying to reach the GHSA Elite Eight in Columbus next week. In Class AAA, Heritage (27-7) hosts Columbus (26-7) while Ringgold (22-11), fresh off an upset at No. 2-ranked Walnut Grove, visits Region 6 champion Carrollton (23-7).
Ringgold coach Rachel Hodge isn't surprised Region 7 still has three teams remaining, counting Allatoona.
"We have a goal and they came out and were ready to play," Hodge said of the Lady Tigers' win at Walnut Grove. "It was the most focused I had seen the kids all year. We did everything we had to do -- all the small things to win the games.
"[Region 8] is a really good region, and to go 3-1 against them says a lot about our region. Any team that comes from this area knows how to play ball. I really believe our region is the best in the state."
Also alive and among the favorites in their classifications are Class AAAA's third-ranked Northwest Whitfield (25-6), which hosts Pope (24-6), and Class A defending champion and top-ranked Gordon Lee (31-1), which hosts Athens Christian (19-6). Joining the second-round field are two Cinderellas in Class AA, North Murray and Fannin County.
North Murray (18-13), the fourth seed from 7-AA, upset fifth-ranked Union County and visits second-ranked Buford (27-10) in the second round, while Fannin (19-14) upset Dade County in round one and hosts Lovett (23-7) in round two.