As softball’s regular season approaches its final two weeks, Cherokee County teams hold the top spots in both of the local regions.
Cherokee sits with the Region 5AAAAAAA lead at 8-1, with a 14-6 overall record. The Lady Warriors, who won four straight games from Sept. 11-20, including two consecutive shutouts, hold a slim lead over Milton, which is 7-2 in region play.
Adding further intrigue, Cherokee and Milton still have not played yet this season due to weather delays.
“Milton is going to be tough competition, and we are probably looking at playing them three times next week,” Cherokee coach Tonya Carlisle said.
Carlisle said the region is always competitive, whether it is Etowah dominating as it has recently or a team like Woodstock, which knocked the Lady Warriors off earlier this season.
Cherokee won the region two years ago, with Etowah taking last year’s crown.
“The region has proved to be pretty tough,” Carlisle said. “Woodstock beat us and Milton, while Etowah beat Woodstock. It is kind of just everybody beating up on everybody a little bit. It is going to come down to these last two weeks.”
Woodstock is not out of the race either at 6-3, leaving a lot at stake during the final two weeks of the regular season.
Cherokee has had multiple postponements because of rain and inclement weather, and Carlisle said it had been a challenge finding any sort of rhythm.
“We are supposed to be toward the end of our region play, but we just have not gotten there because of the rain,” she said. “I feel like we are good enough to win our region. We still have a lot of big games ahead of us. We can not take anything for granted.”
Carlisle said a big reason for Cherokee’s success so far has been the offensive production from Lottie Landmesser and Elyse Kresho, with Kresho also leading the potent pitching staff.
Creekview leads Region 7AAAAAA at 7-1, with a 14-1-1 overall record. The Lady Grizzlies had a dominant start to the season, winning their first 10 games, six of which were shutouts.
Ashton Schroyer and Sammi Martin have led the Creekview offense in yet another challenging year.
River Ridge trails just behind Creekview with a 9-2 region record. The Lady Knights are 11-4 overall this season, building a win streak as long as seven earlier in the year.
“We have played well enough to put ourselves in position to compete for a region championship over the next week or so,” River Ridge coach Andrew Marinelli said.
Creekview and River Ridge are set to square off Tuesday on the Lady Grizzlies’ home field. Cherokee is scheduled to face river Ridge on Oct. 7.
Marinelli has his team ready to challenge Creekview and hold off the 6-2 Sequoyah as the postseason approaches.
“It all goes back to what I said at the beginning of the year — team chemistry,” he said. “That starts with finding great people who just happen to love playing softball. This time of year isn’t about the best team, but which team is playing the best as a team.”