GHSA State Fast-Pitch Softball Tournament Preview

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The GHSA State Fast Pitch Softball Tournament might look a bit different this season with just 32 teams advancing from the playoff brackets due to the COVID-19 pandemic cutting the field for the double-elimination tournament in Columbus by half. However, that does not mean there will be a lack of championship caliber programs making the trek to try for one of eight state championships to be awarded on Saturday afternoon.

Returning to Columbus are 17 teams who have won at least one state championship. Buford and Gordon Lee lead the pack with 10 state championships each. Buford won 10 consecutive titles from 2007 to 2016. Gordon Lee is a five-time defending state champion after winning the Class 2A state championship in 2015 and the Class A-Public title from 2016-20. Oconee County enters the Class 3A tournament looking for its ninth title, but first since 2011.

Heritage-Catoosa returns as the two-time defending champion in Class 4A after surviving a three-game series against Jefferson in the second round. Pope won the 6A title last season, its second championship but first since 2014, and the Greyhounds are back and trying for the 6A crown. Mount de Sales returns after winning the Class A Private state championship last season, the first title for the Cavaliers. Of the 32 teams making the trek to Columbus, 15 are searching for their first state championship.

In the state’s highest class, East Coweta, Harrison, Archer and North Gwinnett will battle it out. East Coweta has two state titles (2017 and 2018) and Harrison, its opponent in the first round, won state titles in 2000 and two seasons ago and after reclassifying to 7A this season. Archer won the Class 6A championship in 2012, the state’s highest class at the time and will face North Gwinnett, the 2016 champion.

Buford’s reclass to 6A this season did not stop the Wolves' success in the postseason as they are back in Columbus to try for its 11th title. The Wolves' will face Lassiter, which dropped down to Class 6A this season. The Trojans won the 5A championship in 2007, the state’s highest class at the time. Creekview won the 2017 state title in Class 6A and faces Pope, the defending champions, in the first round.

In Class 5A, Jones County is the only program to have won a state title (2010 in Class 4A) and it will face Starr’s Mill in the first round. The Greyhounds survived three-game series in the first round against Coffee and the third round against Woodland-Cartersville. Apalachee will face Whitewater in the first round to begin the trek for each program’s first title.

Two-time defending champion Heritage-Catoosa will begin the tournament against LaGrange and the 2016 Class 4A champion Central-Carroll will meet West Laurens to begin the tournament. LaGrange and West Laurens are vying for their first state titles.

In Class 3A, Rockmart and Oconee County are newcomers to the class and will meet in the first round of the tournament. Oconee reclassed from 4A and Rockmart came up from 2A. There are nine titles between them, Oconee has eight. Ringgold returns as the defending champions and will face Pike County as it hunts for its first title.

Heard County won the Class 2A championship in 2014 and will face a field of teams looking for their first titles. Lovett classed down from 3A this season and will be Heard County’s first challenge in the tournament. Bremen will play Vidalia to begin the journey toward each program’s first title. Vidalia knocked off Banks County, the defending champions, in the third round of the playoff bracket.

Gordon Lee is the team to beat in Class A Public and has won five-straight championships. Emanuel County is searching for its first title and will face Gordon Lee in the first round. Bryan County and Commerce will face off in the first round as each program looks for its first title.

Mount de Sales, the defending Class A Private state champion, will face Strong Rock Christian in the opening round. Strong Rock is looking for its first title. Prince Avenue and Mount Paran Christian will meet in the top part of the bracket as each program tries for its first title.

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