It’s time to start playing for keeps.
The softball teams from Troup and LaGrange, after playing five games apiece in the Callaway Classic over the weekend, will each kick off their region schedules this week.
LaGrange will play two Region 1-AAAAA games this week, and Troup will open its Region 5-AAAA schedule this week as well.
Callaway won’t start playing Region 5-AAA games until next week.
LaGrange, which went 3-2 in the Callaway Classic, will begin region play today at Hardaway, and it will host Carver on Thursday in another region game.
LaGrange will play 12 region games, and those games will determine the seeding for the region tournament.
The top four finishers in the region tournament will advance to the state playoffs.
In addition to LaGrange, Hardaway and Carver, the other teams in the region are Columbus, Northside, Shaw and Harris County.
After watching her team’s performance in the Callaway Classic, LaGrange head coach Jan Jones would like to see a little more energy with the all-important region games getting under way.
“The routine things we have to correct those, and just our mentality has to get better,” Jones said. “Our eagerness, our determination, I feel like I’m more fired up than they are coming off a double play, or coming off scoring runs. That has to transition over to them. We just have to get better.”
LaGrange had to replace some key seniors from last year’s team, including Emily Anderson, a four-year starter at pitcher.
Cassidy Creed and McLain Skinner have done all of the pitching this season.
“Both pitchers did a great job on the mound,” Jones said. “Both pitchers kept us in just about every game. They’ll get better.”
Troup was also hit hard by graduation following the 2013 season, with four players who had been a key part of the program for years having moved on.
The team showed a lot of fight in the Callaway Classic, though.
After losing their first two games on Friday, the Lady Tigers went 3-0 on Saturday to finish with a 3-2 record.
“They were a lot more of a team (on Saturday),” Troup head coach Blair Shimandle said. “You could see it there. When they made a mistake, it was OK, we’ll fix it.”
Troup will have a non-region game on Wednesday at Brookstone, and it will begin Region 5-AAAA play on Thursday at home against Fayette County.
Troup is part of a six-team region that also includes Carrollton, Whitewater, Woodward Academy, Sandy Creek and Fayette County.
Callaway, which improved to 4-3 after going 3-2 in the Callaway Classic, has three more games before it begins its Region 5-AAA schedule next week.
Callaway is on the road against Landmark Christian today and Temple on Thursday.
After hosting Landmark Christian on Aug. 25, Callaway plays its region opener on Aug. 26 at home against Pepperell.
The other teams in Callaway’s region are Cedartown, Haralson county, Rockmart, Central-Carroll and Pepperell.
Reach Kevin Eckleberry at (706) 884-7311 (ext. 232) or on Twitter @lagrangesports