BLAIRSVILLE, Ga. — Union County in Class 2A and East Forsyth in Class 4A both advanced to the Elite 8 tournament in Columbus on Wednesday in the Georgia High School Association fastpitch softball playoffs.
The 2022 playoffs are being playing under a new format adopted by the GHSA beginning this season. The traditional best-of-three series at the home of the higher seeds was scrapped for a new Regional format, similar to the one used in college softball playoffs, where four teams will play a double-elimination bracket with the winner moving on to the finals in Columbus. Each of the eight GHSA classifications will conduct eight Regionals with the winners advancing.
For Union County, it’s the second consecutive season to make it to Columbus after holding off Murray County, 10-8, in one of the eight Regionals in Blairsville. The Lady Panthers swept through the Regional going a perfect 3-0.
They will take on Pierce County in the Elite 8 at 3 p.m. next Wednesday to open the double-elimination format.
East Forsyth, meanwhile, will be making its first-ever trip to Columbus after knocking off Northwest Whitfield, 9-3, in the Regional finals. It was the third meeting of the regional between the two teams after splitting their first two matchups.
The Lady Broncos went into Thursday’s action undefeated in the regional but lost to Northwest 9-7 to set up the winner-take-all showdown.
The Lady Broncos will take on Islands in the opening game in Columbus at 5 p.m. next Wednesday.
Two other teams were looking to get to Columbus but saw their seasons end in the Regionals on Wednesday.
North Forsyth lost a heartbreaker to East Paulding, 5-4, in Class 6A. Cherokee Bluff beat Hampton 9-3 to get into the Regional finals but lost 6-3 to Central-Carroll in Class 4A.
In Class A Division 1, Commerce and Rabun County both fell one game short of the Regional finals in their brackets. The Lady Tigers were knocked out by Trion, 8-7, while the Lady Wildcats fell 8-5 to Dade County.
Classes 7A, 5A, 3A, and Class A Division 2 open their state playoffs around the state on Thursday.