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Sunday October 21st, 2018 4:21AM

(UPDATE) Softball: Area teams begin quest for 2018 titles; GHSA statement concerning Hurricane Michael

By Jeff Hart Sports Reporter
  Contact Editor

The 2018 fast-pitch state softball playoffs get under way Tuesday and northeast Georgia-area regions will send a dozen teams spanning five different classifications looking for state titles.

All series will be a best 2-of-3 format at the home of the higher-seeded team. The first two games will be on Tuesday in doubleheaders, with Game 3s, if necessary, on Wednesday.

(Scroll down to see a schedule of all first round series involving area teams.)

Area teams Buford (Region 8-5A), East Hall (Region 7-3A), and Jefferson (Region 8-3A) all head into their respective tournaments as region champions and will hold No. 1 seeds and home field advantage. Commerce currently sits as the overall No. 2 seed in Class A Public and will get a bye in the first round as Class A uses power rankings to seed its 24-team field, with the top 8 seeds all receiving first-round byes.

Regions 5 and 8 and Regions 6 and 7 will match up in the first round across all classifications except Class A.

In Class 5A, Buford is the only area team to advance and will play host to Region 5-5A No. 4 seed Southwest DeKalb. The Lady Wolves finished third in Class 5A in 2017 but that snapped a 10-year run as state champions spanning four classifications. Buford got hot in the region tournament winning the title as a No. 3 seed.

In Class 4A, Flowery Branch comes in as the No. 2 seed out of Region 7-4A and will play host to Northwest Whitfield. White County, the No. 3 seed out of Region 7-4A, will travel to Lafayette and Region 7-4A No. 4 seed Chestatee heads to 6-4A champion Heritage-Catoosa.

In Class 3A, East Hall, the Region 7-3A champ, will play host to Coahulla Creek. Lumpkin County, the No. 2 seed from 7-3A, will entertain Ringgold. North Hall, the No. 3 seed from 7-3A, will travel to Sonoraville.

Region 8-3A champion Jefferson will play host to Cedar Grove. Jackson County, the No. 3 seed from 8-3A, will head to Westminster. The Lady Panthers finished third in Class 3A in the 2017 state tournament.

In Class 2A, Banks County is the No. 2 seed out of Region 8-2A and will play host to Bremen in the first round. The Lady Leopards finished third in Class 2A in 2017. Union County is the No. 4 seed out of Region 8-2A and will travel to Region 5-2A champion Heard County.

In Class A Public, Commerce won the Region 8-A title and will take the overall No. 2 seed into the state tournament. The Lady Tigers took the No. 5 seed into the 2017 tournament but were knocked off in the second round. They will play the winner of the Lanier County-Wheeler County first round matchup.

Gordon Lee is the No. 1 overall seed in Class A Public and is the two-time defending state champion.

GHSA Hurricane Michael Scheduling Updates:

A statement concerning softball playoffs:  The GHSA is urging coaches to play first-round series by Saturday, Oct. 13, if possible. But the GHSA has granted permission to extend the first round into next week if necessary. However, all first AND second-round series must be completed by end of day on Saturday, Oct. 20. The Elite Eight dates in Columbus (Oct. 25-27) CANNOT be moved as the facility is not available after that, according to the GHSA

2018 STATE TOURNAMENT
(All series are best 2-of-3 format at site of higher seeded team.)
(Games 1 & 2 will be doubleheaders on Tuesday; Game 3s, if necessary, on Wednesday.)
(First pitch times may vary so check with individual school.)
(Area teams in bold)

CLASS 5A
Southwest DeKalb (Region 5, No. 4 seed) at Buford (Region 8, No. 1 seed)

CLASS 4A
Northwest Whitfield (R6, 3S) at Flowery Branch (R7, S2)
White County (R7, 3S) at Lafayette  (R6, 2S)
Chestatee (R7, 4S) at Heritage-Catoosa  (R6, 1S)

CLASS 3A
Coahulla Creek (R6, 4S) at East Hall  (R7, 1S)
Cedar Grove (R5, 4S) at Jefferson  (R8, 1S)
Ringgold (R6, 3S) at Lumpkin County  (R7, 2S)
North Hall (R7, 3S) at Sonoraville  (R6, 2S)
Jackson County (R8, 3S) at Westminster  (R5, 2S)

CLASS 2A
Bremen (R5, 3S) at Banks County  (R8, 2S)
Union County (R8, 4S) at Heard County  (R5, 1S)

CLASS A PUBLIC
Commerce (No. 2 seed) bye first round

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