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16 squads set for Battle in the 'Boro

    Beginning today, 16 teams from around southeast Georgia will descend on Mill Creek Regional Park for the annual Battle in the ‘Boro softball tournament hosted by Statesboro High.
    The tournament has quickly grown in popularity and has become a yearly stop for many teams that will fill out this year’s field.
    “I think that we’ve created a great environment to hold a pretty good-sized tournament each year,” said SHS coach Jim Simmons. “We always have a good mix of teams come in and be able to play a bunch of games over a weekend. We have different talent levels and school sizes represented each year, so this tournament is a good fit for any team looking to come.”
    With the Battle drawing teams from Savannah to Augusta and as far away as Dublin, Statesboro is a perfect meeting point for so many teams to be able to participate in the two-day affair.
    Simmons attributes much of the tournament’s appeal to the great facilities and atmosphere that the Lady Blue Devils are able to offer.
    “Mill Creek is an ideal place for a tournament like this,” said Simmons. “We have four fields that are always kept in great shape and a lot of things to do and places to stay for schools that are doing a lot of travelling to get here.”
    While this weekend’s games count towards regular season records and the competition is always fierce, most teams view the tournament as a way to get in lots of playing time before their more important region schedules start. With all teams being assured of five games in two days, there will be plenty of chances for teams to get a look at all of their players.
    That holds especially true for Statesboro. Despite the regular season beginning nearly three weeks ago, the Blue Devils have been limited to playing only three games so far because of constant weather issues. Even as SHS prepared for the tournament Thursday afternoon, the Devils’ eyes were on the skies as lightning and rain were once again in the forecast.
    Luckily, things are looking much better for today and Saturday.
    “Weather has kept popping up this week, but the forecast is looking a lot better for this weekend,” said Simmons. “Hopefully, we’ll get all of our games in and be able to have a great time.”
    The tournament will begin with the teams split into four pools of four teams each. Beginning this afternoon and continuing into Saturday morning, each team will play the other teams in its pool. After pool play, team records will be used to rearrange teams into the White, Bronze, Silver, and Gold championship brackets. From there, the teams will play a single-elimination tournament to decide the winner of each group.
    The last two Battle in the ‘Boro champions will be on hand as defending champ South Effingham and Screven County — which will begin play in Statesboro’s pool — look to repeat their past success.
    Bracket play is slated to begin at 12:30 p.m. Saturday, with the championship game for each bracket scheduled for 5:45 p.m.

    Mike Anthony may be reached at (912) 489-9404.