With only a handful of games remaining in the softball regular season, Forsyth County schools are jostling for position with double-elimination region tournaments less than two weeks away.
Entering Tuesday’s games, Lambert (22-2, 10-1) led Region 6-AAAAAA with an almost flawless record, but North Forsyth (11-7, 7-3), West Forsyth (13-7, 7-2) and South Forsyth (11-11, 7-3) were close behind. Forsyth Central (11-8, 4-3 Region 7-AAAAA) was tied for sixth in the standings and will try to build upon its recent success before its region tournament on Oct. 7.
Lambert, North, South and West all made the playoffs last season and will likely do it again since Alpharetta, Centennial, Chattahoochee and Johns Creek are a combined 0-38 against Region 6-AAAAAA Forsyth schools.
"I think the biggest thing about the region games that are left is just to try to gain some momentum going into the region tournament," South head coach Ronnie Davis said. "It’s shown in sports in general. If you look at the NFL, there have been several teams that have won the Super Bowl when they came out of the wild card position and had to win the last two or three games in the regular season to even get in and they ended up winning."
Dana Corr’s Lambert squad has nearly been unstoppable. The Lady Longhorns have outscored opponents 221-33 through 24 games and likely will clinch the No.1 seed entering the tournament, giving them a two-game bye and a guaranteed spot in the Class 6A state tournament.
Although the final games will determine who each team will play in the first round, West head coach Justin Rickett is more concerned with how his team enters the tournament.
"They’re important because you want to play good before you go into the tournament," Rickett said, "but at the same time, as far as things counting, they don’t really count or mean a ton other than playing well going into the region tournament."
North Forsyth, which is the defending region champion, will choose to rest a few players before the tournament.
"I try to get them as fresh as I can," North head coach Bud Henderson said. "My philosophy may be a little different than everyone else. These region games and this pretty long two, three months [of the season] gets pretty grueling on these girls, and I like to make sure I give them enough time off to just not even think about softball."
Forsyth Central won’t rest anyone after its newly found momentum. The Lady Bulldogs have won four of their last five games, outscoring opponents during that stretch 25-12.
"I feel like we’ve kind of been a slow-moving train that is slowing picking up speed right now," Central head coach Kaelin Farrington said. "We’ve had ups and downs…we’re definitely becoming more of a competitive team as we go along. We still have some stuff we need to work on, but I feel good going into the tournament.
"They’re really important first of all to just get the momentum going into the tournament, but second of all to get a good placement."