Region softball schedule begins
Published 9:28 pm Wednesday, August 8, 2018
By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY
It’s region time for the LaGrange and Troup softball teams.
The Region 5-AAAA schedule gets started today, and LaGrange and Troup both have challenging games.
While LaGrange will be at home against Central-Carroll, Troup opens region play with a road game against Chapel Hill.
A year ago, Central-Carroll and Chapel Hill were the region’s top two teams, and they both made it to the second round of the state playoffs.
Both teams are expected to field strong teams again this season.
Central-Carroll returns seven starters as well as its top two pitchers, and it could contend for a second state championship in three years.
Central-Carroll finished second in Region 5-AAAA to Chapel Hill in 2016, but it won the state championship.
Dave McKenna, who is in his sixth season as Central-Carroll’s coach, believes it’ll be a grind each and every game in the region.
The top four finishers in the region tournament will qualify for the state playoffs.
“The region is going to be the same. It’s going to be us, Chapel Hill and LaGrange in the long run fighting for those top two spots,” McKenna said. “You’ve got Cartersville who was young last year and Troup County was young, LaGrange was young. I think we were all pretty young last year. It’s going to be whoever shows up to play and executes on that particular day.”
Chapel Hill, which beat Central-Carroll in the region-championship series last year, is also loaded.
Nearly every player from last year’s team returns, although there is a new head coach in Adam Graham.
Graham takes over for Mickey Harper, who had been Chapel Hill’s only coach since the school opened in 1999.
Most of the seniors were members of the 2015 that won a state championship.
“I’m really excited about this group,” Graham said. “You could hear a lot of chatter out there (at practice). It was sort of like a good family vibe. You can tell the players really like each other and want to win.”
A year ago, LaGrange finished third in the regular season, but it was beaten in the region tournament by Cedartown.
Most of the players from a team that finished with a winning record in 2017 return, and LaGrange started quickly by winning both of its games in the Hope for a Day Classic on Saturday at Granger Park.
Troup, which finished third in the region tournament last year after beating Cartersville and Cedartown, will also be fighting for a playoff spot this season.
Troup, which went 0-2 on Saturday, got its first win of the season on Monday when it beat Woodward Academy 21-6.
The region’s other teams are Cedartown, Cartersville and Sandy Creek.
Cartersville was the region’s number four seed a year ago, but it was beaten by Troup in the region tournament.
Cedartown was the sixth seed in the region tournament, and it upset LaGrange to advance to state.
Sandy Creek managed just one win in region play last year, and it didn’t participate in the region tournament.