The sixth-seeded Lady Purple Hurricanes (9-9) defeated Cedartown 12-6 and lost 12-1 to Heritage-Catoosa in the Region 7-AAA tournament at Heritage Point Park in Dalton, while the Lady Wildcats (14-16) won their first game against Chattahoochee, 5-1, before losing 9-5 to Johns Creek in the Region 7-AAAA tournament at Twin Creeks Softball Complex in Woodstock.
Cartersville and Woodland must each win three games for a state playoff berth but first have to get by Ridgeland and Sequoyah, respectively. The Lady Wildcats play at 4 p.m., and the Lady Canes take the field an hour later at 5 p.m.
“It’s a one-game season, and we just have to play better as a group. That’s the bottom line,” Woodland coach Colman Roberts said. “Four o’clock is the one [game] we’re thinking about and we’re not worried about anything else.”
During the regular season, the Lady Wildcats split a pair of games with the Lady Chiefs — dropping the teams’ first sub-region matchup, 5-2, but winning the rematch at Woodland, 5-1.
“The game we won, we played well. We had good pitching, good defense and some timely hitting at our place,” Roberts said. “The one we lost we got down early. We just can’t get down early.”
The 10th-year Lady Wildcats coach noted that his team has a high ceiling when it plays to its potential, the type of team that would be a welcome sight for Woodland fans today.
“They’ve been through a tough season and they’re capable of playing with anybody, and sometimes we don’t [play well]. We just need a little luck and a couple of balls to go our way,” said Roberts, whose team beat Class AAAAA’s No. 1 team earlier this season. “We’re capable of beating anybody. We showed that against Harrison. I just hope that team shows up [today]. Sequoyah’s a good team. They’ve won state championships. They’ve been in this situation before and so have we. Hopefully, we’ll play at 6:30.”
Cartersville also hopes to extend its season today but unlike the Lady Wildcats who are perennial playoff contenders, the Lady Canes’ season already has played out well beyond anyone’s imagination.
Second-year coach Rick Holsomback pointed out that his team of mainly freshmen and sophomores was “not supposed to win” as much as they have this year. Cartersville was, after all, coming off a winless season in 2010.
“We’re young but still I think they’ve matured a lot through the year. If they can just play one game at a time, they can get on a good run,” Holsomback said. “I think the main thing is for the girls to stay relaxed and have fun. It’s always difficult playing a team you beat the second time around. [We] just [have to] execute and do the little things … and relax and have fun basically. No point getting all worked up because the hard work’s already done.”
The Lady Canes beat the Lady Panthers 5-1 when the two teams met for a region contest Sept. 12, but Cartersville’s head coach said his team must show more discipline at the plate.
“[We have to] just hit where the ball’s pitched. Sometimes you have a tendency to try to make things happen,” Holsomback said. “If we can play within ourselves, we’ll be fine.”
If the Lady Canes were to beat Ridgeland, they would face the winner of the Murray County-Dalton game afterward. Woodland would play the winner of the Chattahoochee-Lambert game if it won its initial matchup of the day.