A pair of region champions along with three more county programs will represent Cherokee County in this year’s softball state playoffs.
Etowah and Creekview each claimed region titles this fall and both are ranked in the top 10 in their respective classification by multiple publications. River Ridge and Sequoyah will also enter the playoffs ranked in the top-10 in Class AAAAAA while Cherokee should also feel confident after falling to Etowah in the Region 5AAAAAAA championship.
The Class AAAAAA teams will began their first round playoff series on Monday while the Class AAAAAAA teams will begin their first round on Tuesday. Schools will begin play with the first two games of a three-game series. If the two teams split the first two games a third game will be played on the following day at the same site.
Etowah (18-3, 9-1) finished third in Class AAAAAAA last fall and picked up right where they left off this season. Led by senior pitcher Kinsey Norton (Georgia Tech commit) the Lady Eagles have defeated their opponents by an average score of 7-2. Norton has been dominant in the circle, posting a 0.90 ERA with a 14-2 record in 100.1 innings pitched.
Offensively, Kiersten James leads Etowah in hits (25), runs (27), stolen bases (17) and OPS (1.247). Alaina Smith (N.C. State commit) leads Etowah in home runs (4) and RBIs (21).
The Lady Eagles will look to take their first steps back toward Columbus for the state tournament when they host Mill Creek (14-13, 5-7), the No. 4-seed out of Region 8, on Tuesday. The first two games are scheduled for 4 p.m. and 6 p.m., with the third game scheduled for Wednesday, if necessary.
Creekview (19-5, 12-2) won its second region title in as many years and it will enter the playoffs on a 14-game winning streak. The Lady Grizzlies have defeated the opposition by an average score of 10-2 and should feel confident about their chances to advance back to Columbus. Senior outfielder Ari Wright (Virginia Tech commit) and sophomore pitcher Anslie Pettitt are the reigning county Player and Pitcher of the Year.
Creekview will host Allatoona (12-11-1, 8-4) for two games on Monday at 5 p.m and 7 p.m.
Sequoyah (21-6, 12-2) will enter the playoffs on a 12-game winning streak of its own. It finished second in Region 5AAAAAA, and has beaten opponents by an average score of 7-2. The Lady Chiefs will host Lassiter (11-7, 5-4) on Monday at 5:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
River Ridge (22-6-1, 11-3) is the third Region 5AAAAAA team to enter the playoffs ranked in the top-10 in Class AAAAAA. The Lady Knights have been balanced offensively, with six different players tallying at least 20 hits this season and nine different players with at least 10 RBIs. Junior Gracie Hughes has led the effort, however, with team leads in hits (32), home runs (5) and RBIs (41).
Senior Sydney Osada (Georgia commit) has led in the circle, posting a 2.49 ERA and 14-3 record in 92 ⅔ innings pitched. River Ridge will travel to Kennesaw Mountain (17-6, 10-2) on Monday with the first two games scheduled for 5 p.m. and 7 p.m.
Cherokee (15-11, 5-4) will look to bounce back after falling to Etowah in the Region 5AAAAAAA championship. The Lady Warriors have been led by a standout freshman, Elyse Kresho, who leads Cherokee in hits (32), runs (24) and OPS (1.164). Celan Trowers has been Cherokee’s leading run producer with a team-high 20 RBIs. In the circle, Cherokee has Kayleigh Spence and Libby Reece each have posted five wins with more than 40 innings pitched apiece.
Cherokee will host Peachtree Ridge (19-8, 6-6) on Tuesday at 5 p.m. and 7 p.m.