LaGrange hoping to stay hot
By kevin eckleberry
The LaGrange Lady Grangers have been rolling, and they’ll look to keep the good times going this week as they continue their Region 5-AAAA softball schedule.
After opening region play with back-to-back one-run losses to Central-Carroll and Cedartown, LaGrange (10-6 overall) has won three straight region games, all in blowout fashion.
Next up for LaGrange is a Central-Carroll team that is leading the pack in the region with an unbeaten record.
Those two teams will meet on Tuesday at Granger Park in a critical region showdown.
If Central-Carroll wins, it will maintain its lock on first place in the region and will have at least a two-game lead over the second-place team.
If LaGrange wins, it will be just one game behind Central-Carroll and will be in position to finish first or second in the region, and that is critical.
At the close of the regular season, the region’s top two teams will meet in a best-of-three series to determine the region champion.
The winner of that series will finish first and the loser will place second, and they’ll both be at home for the opening round of the Class AAAA state tournament.
The teams that finish third through sixth in the region will participate in their own tournament, with two of those teams qualifying for state, and both teams will be on the road to open state play.
So the only way to host a state-playoff series is to place first or second in the region, which adds some extra meaning to the regular-season games.
“We’d love to host (a state series),” said Gabby Heath, LaGrange’s head coach. “We always have to travel.”
LaGrange is coming off a big 9-5 home win over Chapel Hill last week.
It was the first time LaGrange has beaten Chapel Hill since the two teams joined the same region in 2016.
Now, LaGrange will look to take down a Central-Carroll team that has been a powerhouse in the region for the past four years.
It helps that LaGrange is playing its best softball of the season, having won six straight games while beating a number of high-quality teams.
Three of those wins came during a tournament at East Coweta.
“The first couple of games, we weren’t as confident in our ability to compete at a high level,” Heath said. “Then they saw it happen (as East Coweta). They’ve been difference since then.”
After Tuesday’s game, LaGrange has another critical region test on Thursday at Cedartown.
Troup, meanwhile, is looking to climb the ladder in the region.
Troup was 2-2 in the region at one point, but it has lost three in a row to fall to 2-5.
Troup has two games this week, a game at Chapel Hill on Tuesday, and a home date with Sandy Creek on Thursday.
REGION 5-AAAA STANDINGS
Central-Carroll – 6-0
Cedartown – 4-2
LaGrange – 3-2
Chapel Hill – 3-3
Cartersville – 3-3
Troup – 2-5
Sandy Creek – 0-6