2023 softball playoff preview: Callaway, LaGrange and Troup gear up for the state playoffs
Published 8:00 am Wednesday, October 18, 2023
It seems like just yesterday that the 2023 Georgia high school softball season was getting underway, but it is in fact playoff time. All three local public schools — Callaway, LaGrange and Troup are sending their squads to the playoffs.
The Cavaliers enter the AA state playoffs as a second seed for the second consecutive year under coach Josh King. Callaway will not have to make an overnight journey this year as the team will be traveling to Kennesaw at Mt. Paran Christian School.
The Cavaliers come into the super regional in a bit of a slump, having dropped their final three games of the season, but the team is ready for the trials and tribulations of post-season softball.
Callaway will open the playoffs with a game against Providence Christian Academy (9-11-2) on Wednesday at 3 p.m. The Storm come into the game in a rough patch, having dropped five of the last six games.
The Storm, like their Cavalier counterparts, got one post season win a season ago before bowing out of the playoffs.
Callaway will either play North Murray (11-13) or Mt. Paran (23-4-2) in the second game of the playoffs.
Mt. Paran is the reigning state runner-up in AA and will have eyes on advancing to out of the super regional once again to make Columbus for the elite eight and beyond.
The Cavaliers will be the best equipped to upset the Eagles. Callaway will be heavily reliant on starting pitchers Mackenzie Toney and Kaitlyn Williams.
This playoff run will be the final set of games for seniors Kyla Harris and Ava Shuford, who start in right field and third base respectively.
The Grangers will be on quite the journey to play for a spot in the elite eight in Columbus. LaGrange will be spending multiple nights in southeast Georgia as Wayne County hosts the super regional.
The Grangers will matchup with an old region foe in Shaw in the opening round of the playoffs. The two teams did not meet on the diamond this season, but LaGrange outscored the Raiders by a combined 20-3 in the two meetings last year between the two teams.
LaGrange will have its eyes firmly set on hosts Wayne County, who knocked out Troup in last year’s playoffs to earn a spot in the elite eight in Columbus. The Yellow Jackets (18-8) are having another big season this year.
The Grangers could also find themselves matched up with Spalding (12-13). The Jaguars missed the playoffs in the season prior, but slipped in as a no. 4 seed this season.
LaGrange has been relying on the strong pitching of Zoe Thompson this season. There is a realistic chance that she starts both of the first games of the super regional on Wednesday and will be called on to pitch some big innings this week.
The Grangers narrowly missed out on a chance to play for a region title and the right to host a super regional, but the region 4-AAAA championship game was canceled, leaving the Grangers with a trip to Savannah.
LaGrange’s power-hitting offense will be relying on a strong junior class including Hudson Wood, Carolyne Garcia, Harlee Overton, Abby McGill, Kimberly Reynolds, Tatiana Dudley and Tatum Nation.
The Grangers are hungry for their first elite eight appearance since 2021. It all starts for LaGrange at 3 p.m. on Wednesday, who will then play again at 5p.m if they win or 7 p.m. if they lose.
The Tigers will be thrown in the fire right away as they play the no. 1 seeded Cairo in the first round of the AAAA state playoffs. Troup will kick off the playoffs early in south Georgia with the game scheduled to start at 11 a.m.
Troup was able to make the sweet 16 a year ago, but fell to Wayne County and missed a chance to make the elite eight in Columbus. Troup plans to flip the script this season and it starts with the Syrupmakers.
Cairo (15-9) and Troup did not meet in the regular season, but share one common opponent: Harris County. Cairo lost its only game against Harris County 10-0 while Troup lost two games, 9-3, 7-3.
The Tigers could also find themselves playing a familiar opponent from last year’s playoffs. Perry is in the same super regional as the Tigers for the second straight season. Troup trumped Perry 6-3 a season ago.
The other team in the super regional is a bit of a wild card. Islands (4-14) has not had a good season on paper, but the Sharks did beat LaGrange and Cairo last season to book a spot in Columbus for the elite eight.
Anna Grace Keller and Camdyn Bassett are likely to get the start in the two games that the Tigers will play on Wednesday.
If Troup loses in the first game the Tigers will play a lose and you’re out game against the loser of Perry vs. Islands. A win in the opening game will see Troup play again at 5 p.m. with a spot in the sweet 16 on the line.