And though the result was a 2-1 loss to Pope in nine innings, the loss wasn’t severe enough to prevent the Lady Grizzlies from winning the region’s No. 1 seed.
Now, Creekview (17-6, 8-2) will prepare for archrival Sequoyah (14-8, 8-2) and a best-of-three series to determine the region championship.
Creekview finished the regular season in a three-way tie with Sequoyah and Pope atop the region standings.
But even with the loss to Pope, Creekview still won the No. 1 seed, based on the defeat coming by fewer than three runs.
“The tiebreaker is runs given up between the three tied teams,” Creekview coach Chance Cain said before Tuesday’s game. “Right now, Sequoyah has eight runs given up, and we only have five, so we have three that we could give up and still be region champions.”
A loss of more than three runs to Pope would have put Sequoyah into first place, and Creekview would be the No. 2. A loss by seven runs or more would have dropped the Lady Grizzlies into third and into the double-elimination portion of the region tournament.
The Lady Grizzlies’ only previous Region 7AAAAA setback came in an 8-7 loss to Northview. Cain said that bad coaching was the reason for the loss, and he would have felt badly if the players weren’t competing for a region title because of his mistakes.
Cain attributes much of his team’s success to its veteran players.
“They have lived up to expectations, and some have even surpassed them,” he said.
Creekview also has four pitchers — something Cain hopes will carry the Lady Grizzlies far into the state playoffs.
“They share the load a little bit,” he said.
Gracie Dorr has been the ace, entering Tuesday with a 13-2 record and an ERA of just over 1.00.
“We are pretty strong in the circle, which will help us in the region tournament and, hopefully, state tournament as well,” Cain said. “We have been consistent hitting and have girls who can get the ball in play. My thing is, if we score one run an inning, we are going to win the ballgame.”
As for Sequoyah, the region’s second-place team, longtime Lady Chiefs coach Todd Morrissey said his team is playing its best ball now.
Sequoyah is also a playoff-tested program, having reached the state playoffs 20 of the last 23 years, including the state championship 2006 season.
“Our kids expect to be in the hunt for a state title every time we step on the field,” Morrissey said. “We really don’t have one dominant player. It seems that someone different has risen to the occasion in crucial situations and helped the team win. These kids play in a very unselfish manner. They will do whatever it takes to help their team win.”
River Ridge, the No. 1 seed of Region 7AAAA’s southern half, is also looking toward the state playoffs.
The Lady Knights (14-8, 7-1) will play a non-region game against Cherokee tonight before beginning their region tournament Saturday. As the top seed in the tournament, they will play the winner of an earlier game between LaFayette and Cass on Saturday.
Senior Jessica Baker has continued to be an offensive leader for the Lady Knights, while freshman Brianna Collender has come on strong. She is currently second on the team in batting average (.377) and leads the team in runs scored (16). Other key players include juniors Beth McCulley and Katelyn Brack, while Juniors Heather Williams and Emma Pope have split the pitching duties.
Cherokee, Etowah and Woodstock will all participate in the Region 5AAAAAA tournament, which begins Monday.
Tied with Cherokee (16-7, 5-1) for the best record in the region, Woodstock (17-6, 5-1) will host Walton in the first round. Meanwhile, the Lady Warriors, coming off back-to-back losses against East Coweta, will get a chance to right things when they play River Ridge tonight.
Near the middle of the region standings is Etowah (7-15, 2-4). The Lady Eagles opened the season with eight straight losses, but have shown signs of improvement since then — including a stretch of four straight wins over Kell, Wheeler, West Hall and Walton.