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Softball: Preview of first-round state playoff series
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South Forsyth's Jordyn Harris tags out Forsyth Central pinch-runner Ansley Clark on Tuesday, Aug. 22, 2017. - photo by Brian Paglia

Mountain View at South Forsyth

When: Thursday, 5 and 7 p.m.; Friday, 6 p.m., if necessary.

Records: South is 15-8, 12-3 in Region 5-7A; Mountain View is 5-17, 2-5 Region 6-7A

What to know: The War Eagles came out on top in a mixed-up region by getting hot late, winning their last six region games and clinching the No. 1 seed with one still to go. They then shut out rival Lambert to carry that momentum into the playoffs. The War Eagles face a Mountain View team with a curiously high GHSA power rating of 8.50, as compared to their listed record of 5-17, but South likely won’t have much difficulty moving on to face either Newton or Parkview.

What's next: The winner will face Newton or Parkview.

Mill Creek at Lambert

When: Thursday, 4 and 6 p.m., Saturday, 11 a.m., if necessary.

Records: Lambert is 16-10, 9-6 in Region 5-7A; Mill Creek is 13-12, 6-4 in Region 6-7A  

What to know: Lambert, despite returning the vast majority of contributors from a squad that went 15-0 in the region last year, could not approach that dominance this season. The Longhorns’ offense felt the loss of Marissa Guimbarda to graduation and missing UNC commit Brooke Miller for much of the season due to injury hurt as well. Miller is back for the Longhorns, though, and while senior pitcher Kassidy Krupit hasn’t quite replicated her lights-out 2016 season, she can be among the best hurlers in the state when she’s on. Lambert won’t be an enviable playoff matchup for any team, regardless of their seeding.

What's next: The winner will face Brookwood or Shiloh.

Forsyth Central at Collins Hill

When: Thursday, 4 and 6 p.m.; Saturday, 1 p.m., if necessary.

Records: Central is 15-8, 9-6 in Region 5-7A; Collins Hill is 17-9, 8-2 in Region 6-7A

What to know: These Bulldogs were one of many Forsyth Central teams that struggled mightily with the school’s transition to Class 7A, as they went 8-16 and 4-11 in region play. But this year, led by the excellence of sophomore pitcher Bailey McCachren and her 1.72 ERA, Central showed that it could hang with anybody in the region. McCachren’s presence – or lack thereof – is a crucial factor in the playoffs. She had her appendix removed late in the region schedule and missed the Bulldogs’ last two games. McCachren could be back by Thursday but might not be at full strength. Central’s second option is Kristi Brower, who held North Forsyth’s powerful offense to one run in the Bulldogs’ regular season finale.

What's next: The winner will face Berkmar or Grayson.

North Forsyth at North Gwinnett

When: Thursday, 5 and 7 p.m.; Saturday, if necessary.

Records: West is 15-27, 4-4 in Area 5-7A; Kennesaw Mountain is 40-10, 9-2 in Area 3-7A.

What to know: The Raiders have a strong claim to the title of best offense in the region, as they scored 88 runs in 15 games, six more than South. Shortstop Mallorie Black has lived up to every expectation that her preseason commitment to Georgia Tech set, hitting .463 with just one strikeout, and Ashleigh Grace has been a star as a freshman, hitting .470 and stealing 16 bases. North's biggest issue has been its difficulty holding opponents down, as the Raiders surrendered 69 runs during the region schedule, second-most behind last-place Milton. The defending state champion Bulldogs look ready for another deep run, but the Raiders' collection of talent makes them look like one of the more dangerous No. 4 seeds in the bracket. 

What's next: The winner will face Archer or Norcross.