The best-of-three series will begin with a doubleheader today, with a tiebreaking game held Thursday, if necessary.
The goal for all three local teams is the same — get through the second round and earn a spot at the state finals in Columbus.
Creekview (21-9-1), which finished as the second seed in Region 7AAAAA, will host Lakeside-DeKalb (17-14-1), the third seed of 6AAAAA, at 5 p.m. today.
The Lady Grizzlies, who have averaged five runs per game this year, will take on a Lady Vikings team that’s scored an average of 9.8 runs.
For Creekview coach Chance Cain, the solid pitching and smart defense that he’s depended on to win games this season will have to present if Creekview wants to progress to the second round.
“Pitching and defense is what we’ve relied on during the year, and against Lakeside, it won’t be any different,” Cain said. “(Pitchers) Madison Luck and Gracie Dorr put us in every ball game. It’s just up to our offense to put some runners on base so we can get a few runs across the plate.”
For Creekview to produce runs, Cain plans to rely on the entire team, rather than just a few individuals.
“We don’t have a set starting nine,” he said. “We have a starting 15. Every player on the team has something different and unique that they bring to the table. Even if someone isn’t in the starting lineup, there will be situations where we need them, so they have to be ready.”
Cherokee (19-11), which finished as the second seed in Region 5AAAAAA, will host 8AAAAAA’s No. 3 seed, Grayson (19-9), at 5:30 p.m.
The Lady Warriors will rely on ace Savanna Dover to start both games as they attempt to make it to the second round of the state playoffs for the second time in three years.
Dover is 16-6 on the year with a 0.93 ERA and 251 strikeouts.
Despite Cherokee’s reliance on Dover in the circle, Lady Warriors coach Tonya Carlisle felt that it would take more than just a stellar performance by her for the team to advance.
“There are 18 players, four coaches, and two managers on this team, and it is going to take every single one of us doing our job if we want to win,” Carlisle said.
Etowah (21-7-2), which finished as the No. 3 seed in Region 5AAAAAA, drew the toughest first-round matchup of the three county teams and will travel to face 8AAAAAA runner-up Archer (25-7) at 5:30 p.m.
Archer, which is ranked second in the state, beat Etowah 7-4 earlier in the year.
Despite the tall task ahead, Etowah coach Victoria Brown is excited by the prospect of playing such a difficult team in the first round.
“I think it is going to be a good test for us,” said Brown, whose Lady Eagles are ranked eighth in the state. “Everyone has to play the top teams eventually, so now we’re just getting to see what we are truly made of early on.”
Brown feels her players will have to put together a complete game — something she feels Etowah has struggled to do recently — if they want to advance.
“We have to be more consistent in our overall game,” Brown said. “At some point in the year, we’ve done a good job in each aspect of the game. We just haven’t done it consistently and at the same time. We need to put all of the pieces together.”