Things might be about to change.
The season officially got under way last week, although most teams have not yet taken the field due to wet conditions. Many will play their first games this weekend as a part of the Leadoff Classic.
Still, hopes are high.
Creekview, which reached the second round of the Class AAAAA playoffs a year ago, has set the goal of winning the Region 7AAAAA title.
According to coach, Chance Cain this begins with all the players having good attitudes at practice and putting forth good efforts each time they take the field.
“Once that goal is achieved, our sights are set on Columbus, as our goal will be on winning first-round playoffs, and then second-round playoff games,” Cain said.
Winning a state championship is the team’s ultimate goal, and Cain feels the Lady Grizzlies have the talent to do that this season. He feels the biggest challenge for his players will be developing mental toughness and discipline.
Creekview graduated three players from last year’s squad. Outfielder Victoria Cochran is going to Harvard on an academic scholarship, while Madison Luck and Anna Tankersley will continue their softball careers at Reinhardt and Berry, respectively.
Among the returning players are seniors Taylor Petty, Ashley Chumbler and Tiffany Jordan. Petty will likely start at third, while Chumbler, the reigning Cherokee Tribune Softball Player of the Year, will start in the outfield. Jordan, one of the team’s most versatile players will play shortstop.
Other players slated to start include Cynda Tate (OF), Annie Conrad (1B/DP), Casee Disharoon (P/1B), Gracie Dorr (P/OF), Tiffany Godfrey (C/DP), and Kirsten Price (C/2B).
Ashley Walraven, a junior transfer from Apalachee High School, could be a good addition for the Lady Grizzlies, but the team is still awaiting her eligibility approval from the Georgia High School Association.
Also competing in Region 7AAAAA is Sequoyah.
The Lady Chiefs got their season under way by facing Etowah on Wednesday night.
Sequoyah has a solid history of success in softball, winning a state title in 2006 and reaching the playoffs in 19 of the last 22 years. Unfortunately, last season was not one of those.
The Lady Chiefs will be led by returning all-county player Katie Collis, as well as returning starters Mikayla Cagle, Janey Joyner and Emily Mitchell.
River Ridge is also looking to make a playoff run out of Region 7AAAA
The Lady Knights did not reach the playoffs last season, but they graduated just one player — Sara Bennetts, who is now at Middle Georgia.
Coach Scott Bradley feels River Ridge has a good mix this season.
“We have some people that can hit for power and some that can hit for average,” he said. “It is good to have that type of mix in your lineup.”
Among the top returners are senior third baseman Jessica Baker, senior outfielder Michelle Friesz, junior first baseman Kiley Rediger, junior catcher Katelyn Brack and two junior pitchers in Heather Williams and Emma Pope.
Etowah and Cherokee were the other two teams from the county to make the state playoffs, both advancing out of Region 5AAAAAA.
Etowah will have some spots to fill in its lineup after graduating a trio of all-county players in Courtney Atkinson, Allie Brown and Torrie Garner. The Lady Eagles will look to veteran players such as last year’s Cherokee Tribune Softball Pitcher of the Year, Bridgette Flaherty, and seniors Jenni Karpowich and Maddie Beth Jenkins.
In her second season with Etowah, coach Victoria Brown will have a much younger team, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. There should be contributions from some of the sophomores and freshmen who made the roster.
Cherokee, which, like Etowah, was eliminated in the first round of the state playoffs, should be in a similar position as the Lady Eagles. The Lady Warriors graduated Anna Rowe and Naomi Catt, two of the team’s strongest players. On the upside, however, Cherokee does bring back pitcher Savanna Dover, a 16-game winner, Region 5AAAAAA first-teamer and all-county player.
Aside from Dover and fellow senior Layken Adkins, the Lady Warriors will be young. The roster consists of four freshmen, four sophomores and five juniors.
Woodstock, which also players in Region 5AAAAAA, failed to advance from the region tournament a year ago.
All-region selection Carolyn Edwards returns, along with fellow senior Caroline Nolen.