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Softball: Previews of first round playoff matchups
Ansley Chiang
South Forsyth freshman Asnley Chiang crosses home plate Sept. 12 during a 4-0 win against Lambert. - photo by David Roberts

Lambert at Norcross

When: Tuesday, 5 and 7 p.m. Tuesday; Wednesday, 5:30 p.m. if necessary

Records: Lambert is 10-15, 4-6 in Region 5-7A; Norcross is 15-11, 6-3 in Region 7-7A

Brooke Miller
Lambert senior Brooke Miller tags second base Sept. 23 during a 6-5 win against Milton. - photo by David Roberts
What to know: Call it fate or heating up at just the right time, but Lambert is back in the playoffs after missing it last season, and the Longhorns go in as a No. 3 seed after an undefeated showing in the Region 5-7A tournament. Lambert's strong core of seniors have caught on late in the season, and they'll face a solid Norcross team in the first round. The good news for Lambert? It’s also a squad that they’ve already bested this season: The Longhorns defeated the Blue Devils 8-5 on Sept. 18.

What’s next: The winner will face Marietta or Colquitt County.


Forsyth Central at Parkview

When: 5 and 7 p.m. Tuesday; Wednesday, 5:30 p.m. if necessary

Records: Central is 11-17, 7-4 in Region 5-7A; Parkview is 16-10, 7-2 in Region 7-7A

What to know: The Region 5-7A tournament went almost the exact opposite way that Forsyth Central wanted it to go, with the Bulldogs entering the state playoffs as the No. 4 seed out of the region after seeming to be in position to challenge for a region title just weeks earlier. Much of that was just because of bad breaks: Star pitcher Bailey McCachren missed both of Central’s games against Lambert due to sickness, and left fielder Emma Lynch is gone for the season after breaking her collarbone. But despite that, Central will get McCachren back and is probably stronger than a lot of No. 4 seeds in the playoffs. Parkview, the Region 7-7A champion, will be a tough task, but the Panthers don’t look invincible: They’ve lost to Lambert, Norcross and Collins Hill this season.

What’s next: The winner will face Lowndes or North Paulding.


Denmark at LaGrange

Taylor Gajdik
Denmark pitcher Taylor Gajdik delivers a pitch Aug. 6 during a 9-1 win against Fannin County. - photo by Brian Paglia
When: 5 and 7 p.m. Tuesday; Wednesday, 5:30 p.m. if necessary

Records: Denmark is 18-10, 8-6 in Region 7-4A; LaGrange is 20-10, 9-5 in Region 5-4A

What to know: The Danes have undergone quite the turnaround in their second season of existence, and now enter the state softball playoffs for the first time in school history. Denmark certainly ended its regular season on a high note, notching two wins over Blessed Trinity – one in ten innings – to secure its playoff berth as a No. 3 seed. They’ll have a tough go against LaGrange, who has won six of its last eight games. Their only two losses in that span came in the Region 5-4A championship series, which LaGrange lost to Central-Carrollton.

What’s next: The winner will face Shaw or Burke County.

Brookwood at South Forsyth

When, where: 4 and 6 p.m. Wednesday.

Records, rankings: South Forsyth is 12-16 and unranked in Class 7A; Brookwood is 10-14 and unranked in Class 7A.

What to know: South Forsyth settled for second place in Region 5-7A after a two-game sweep by North Forsyth in the region tournament. Still, South will host at least one home series in the playoffs. Reigning all-county softball player of the year Makenna Segal leads South’s offense, but didn’t get an official at-bat in the region tournament, as North elected to intentionally walk her each time she was up. South head coach Leanne Brooks juggled players around her lineup trying to find protection for Segal, with Isabel Hui and Ashley Chu seeing success at the top of the lineup. Hannah Marchman has shouldered much of the load in the pitcher’s circle this season, at time looking like a true ace. She’ll need her best stuff Wednesday against an established Brookwood team that is just one year removed from a 21-win season. South Forsyth last faced Brookwood in 2018, an 8-1 loss.

What’s next: The winner will face Peachtree Ridge or Kennesaw Mountain.


Berkmar at North Forsyth

When, where: 4 and 6:30 p.m. Wednesday.

Records, rankings: North Forsyth is 26-2 and ranked No. 4 in Class 7A; Berkmar 6-13 and unranked in Class 7A.

What to know: North Forsyth cruised to its second straight region championship behind an offense that combined to hit .382 and score 227 runs in 28 games. Shortstop Mallorie Black, a Georgia Tech commit, leads the team with nine home runs, while Ashleigh Grace’s .566 batting average is the best on the team. Kyleigh Sanders and Hailey Mize have each won 10 games for the Raiders this season. North Forsyth is currently riding a 17-game winning streak and has not lost a game since Aug. 22. Berkmar snuck into the playoffs as a No. 4 seed out of Region 7-7A after struggling mightily down the stretch. The Patriots lost four of their last five games of the regular season and were outscored 72-3. In 19 games, Berkmar has given up 312 runs. 

What’s next: The winner will face Camden County or Hillgrove.