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'Battle in the Boro' tourney begins Friday at Mill Creek
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Screven County ace Marla Thompson lets one fly against South Effingham Saturday at Mill Creek Regional during the 2009 'Battle in the Boro'.

    Softball season is underway, but before teams from around the state dive into their region schedules, 12 teams from all parts of Georgia will descend on Statesboro for the Battle in the Boro which starts this afternoon and continues through tomorrow at Mill Creek Regional Park.
    The tournament, hosted by Statesboro High, has become an annual event for teams looking to get some extra games into their schedule and has become a great recruiting tool for softball programs in the area.
    “This is a great opportunity for everyone in the area to come out and enjoy some softball,” said Statesboro coach Jim Simmons. “There are a lot of quality teams coming in this season. It should give our team great competition to play against and should make for some good games to watch.”
    Statesboro begins the tournament with a doubleheader this evening. The Lady Blue Devils will take on Parkview at 4 p.m. and follow with a matchup against Cross Creek at 7:30 p.m.
    Another area team looking to make its mark this weekend is Screven County.
    The Lady Gamecocks are undefeated on the young season and enter this year’s Bash in the Boro with thoughts of defending their 2009 tournament title.
    Along with the opportunity to add more games onto the regular season schedule, Screven is also using this weekend to test their game against some of the best competition they will see this year.
    The Gamecocks, who compete in Class AA, dominated their region last season and have high hopes to do so again.
    Aside from region rival Southeast Bulloch, Screven might not face a big challenge until the postseason. To get his players into more big game situations, Gamecocks coach Billy Pollock is looking forward to playing in a tournament that features powerhouse schools from higher classifications such as South Effingham (AAAA) and Parkview (AAAAA).
    “We’re looking forward to the challenge,” said Screven second baseman Rochelle Shuman. “It’s fun to play different teams and we want to challenge as many good teams ass possible.
    “A lot of people think that all of the best teams in the state are all up north, so we want to prove people wrong and beat some of those teams.”
    Other area teams competing in the tournament include Portal, Metter and Swainsboro.
    The 12 teams are separated into four pools of three teams each and play a round-robin schedule within the pool. Saturday, teams will be divided again according to their records in pool play, with the top team from each pool competing for the overall tournament title.

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