Photo by Derrick Mahone
Union Grove is led by senior pitcher Megan Betsa, who has committed to playing at Michigan.
Here is a look at how some of the top Southern Crescent softball teams are progressing:
Undefeated Dutchtown’s bats have been on fire in its first three victories against Grady, Henry County and Spalding, driving in 20, 11 and 15 runs in each game respectively. And their pitching hasn’t been too shabby either — especially in the first two games. In Dutchtown’s opener at Grady on August 16, sophomore Tiara Scott pitched a no-hitter in a game that was called after three innings. Four days later, Scott pitched a perfect game in the Bulldogs home opener against Henry County. With the 3-0 start, coach Sam Coley’s squad has already matched its win total from last season. Thursday and Friday feature match-ups against streaking region foe Upson-Lee — the Knights have won four straight — and Forest Park.
The Wildcats are surging early, and appear to be approaching midseason form. Locust Grove has just two losses sandwiched between a pair of early season three-game winning streaks. After cruising 16-1 against region foe North Clayton Tuesday, Locust Grove should expect to get a stiffer challenge from a talented but struggling Eagle's Landing squad. Despite graduating its entire pitching staff, the Wildcats' work at the mound and their defense has helped them to a fast 8-2 start.
Is it too soon to call for a surprise team in this young softball season? If not, Stockbridge wins the prize. The last time a Stockbridge team started off a season 4-0 as coach Jim Hilleary’s Tigers have, was in 2006 when it finished with a 26-7 record, complete with a deep run into the state playoffs. With Tuesday’s 19-4 victory over Towers, this year’s team has already eclipsed last season’s win total. The Tigers play Galloway on Friday before tuning up for their first region test at Upson-Lee Tuesday.
With six returning starters from 2011’s 14-5 team, coach Toby Evans was probably hoping for more of a repeat performance of the Golden Eagle’s first few games of last season. Last year Eagle’s Landing won five of its first six games which set the pace for a fairly successful season. This year, however, it’s almost as if someone has flipped the coin on the Golden Eagle’s fortunes. Eagle’s Landing has lost four of its first six games. The bats have struggled early. Take away a pair of blowout victories — 17-1 and 14-6 — against Lovejoy and the Golden Eagles are scoring just under three runs per game. The Golden Eagles round out the week against region opponents, Woodland and Locust Grove, and will travel to North Clayton on Tuesday.
This perennial 4-AAAAA power has begun its 2012 campaign much like it has started most seasons in the last decade — winning. At 2-0, with wins over Locust Grove and Woodland, the Wolverines round out the week playing host to defending state champion Northgate before heading to Etowah and Altoona to play in the Buccaneer Bash this weekend.