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Tourney time

Region 3-AAAAA Softball Tournament
(4) Statesboro at
(1) Ware County

(4) Camden County at
(1) Effingham County

(3) Glynn Academy at
(2) South Effingham

(3) Richmond Hill at
(2) Coffee County

    All series are best-of-three. Winners advance to GHSA Class AAAAA state playoffs.

    Statesboro’s softball team is in a bit of an unfamiliar position, but one they’re glad to be a part of.
    A 10-6 victory over Bradwell Institute on Sept. 27 marked a sweep of the season series and clinched the final available postseason slot out of Division B of Region 3-AAAAA for the Lady Blue Devils (3-18, 2-6). As a result of that shaky win-loss record, the Devils hold the No. 4 seed and will face Division A sub-region champion Ware County in the region playoffs to determine who will advance to the state tournament.
    The teams will play a best-of-three series in Waycross. Today will feature a doubleheader with first pitch scheduled for 4 p.m. If necessary, a decisive third game will be played Friday afternoon.
    “(Making the postseason) was one of our goals,” SHS coach Jim Simmons said. “Obviously, we’ve had some struggles, but we’ve improved and played well in the games we needed to win.”
    The Devils need to win from here on out to keep their season alive, but it won’t be easy as the Lady Gators (13-7, 6-2) stormed to victories in seven of their last eight games, clinching a No. 1 seed with a 4-0 shutout of Glynn Academy in their regular season finale.
    If Statesboro is to pull the upset, it will likely come by hanging tough in low-scoring games.
    The Devils have improved their offense drastically this season, but have been prone to power outages from time to time. Ware County doesn’t exactly boast its own murderer’s row — scoring five or more runs just twice since the last week of August — but senior pitcher Abby Todd has been able to hold most opponents at bay.
    Statesboro will answer Todd with a pair of freshmen as McKenny Corbett and Cassidy Stevens have shouldered the majority of the pitching duties for the Devils this season.
    “Fundamentals are going to be important,” Simmons said. “We’ve had some games where we played well, but one bad inning let the game get away. There’s no going to be that kind of room for error.”
    In other region playoff games, Division B top seed Effingham County will host Camden County. South Effingham hosts Glynn Academy and Richmond Hill will travel to Coffee.
    All four series winners will advance to the state playoffs and will be seeded based on their records. Those four teams will take on the state representatives from Region 4-AAAAA. The top two seeds from Region 3-AAAAA will host best-of-three series while the third and fourth seeds will head off to the South Metro Atlanta area for their first round matchups.

    Mike Anthony may be reached at (912) 489-9408.