Rock­mart stays on top in soft­ball

♦ Lady Jack­ets were wait­ing for re­gion tour­na­ment to start, get into state play­offs

The Standard Journal - - SPORTS - Staff re­ports

With rain de­lays last week get­ting in the way of the 7-AA re­gion tour­na­ment, the Rock­mart Lady Jack­ets found them­selves in a hold­ing pat­tern.

Not that it’s a bad thing. As they’ve al­ready ce­mented them­selves the 7-AA re­gion cham­pi­onships, the only thing stand­ing in their way of a No. 1 seed in the state tour­na­ment brack­ets on the climb to a sec­ond state ti­tle is the chance for sweet re­venge from other teams look­ing for the same op­por­tu­nity this week.

The top-ranked 24-2 Lady Jack­ets rounded out the reg­u­lar sea­son early last week against Gor­don Cen­tral with a 15-0 shut out on Sept. 24, then fin­ished off Heard County in a trip south­ward with a 6-4 win at Franklin against the Lady Braves.

Rock­mart put up a pair of runs each in the first, fourth and sev­enth in­nings and snuffed out a late rally by the Lady Braves who oth­er­wise re­mained score­less through the sixth in­ning to round out the last game of the sea­son and come home vic­tors.

And with a top spot in the 7-AA tour­na­ment al­ready in place, now the Lady Jack­ets just have to wait to see who they’ll be play­ing to keep their No. 1 seed in the state tour­na­ment.

Rock­mart would have al­ready got­ten the game out of the way had not the weather got­ten in the way later in the week. Rain de­lays for Floyd County teams in two games – Pep­perell vs. Model and Ar­muchee vs. Dade County – were post­poned as of Sept. 24 due to poor field con­di­tions and rain de­lays.

Those games were im­por­tant and pushed back the start of the 7-AA tour­na­ment be­cause of a change in the way the re­gion de­ter­mines the win­ner.

The new for­mat this sea­son to de­ter­mine its re­gion cham­pi­ons saw the re­gion aban­don the tour­na­ment for­mat for a best-of-three play­off sys­tem.

The first round was ini­tially sched­uled to start on Sept. 27, but then it got pushed back last week.

Tech­ni­cally the teams have un­til this Satur­day to com­plete the re­gion and de­ter­mine the top 4 seeds.

The first round of the Class AA state play­offs, which is also a best-of-three sys­tem, is sched­uled to be held Oct. 9-12.

The No. 1 and No. 2 seeds, Rock­mart and Chat­tooga re­spec­tively, get firstround byes in the re­gion play­offs. At press time, Pep­perell and Dade County are tied for the No. 3 seed with a 9-4 mark against re­gion op­po­nents. Ar­muchee is the fifth seed and Gor­don Cen­tral is sixth.

As of press time, wins for Ar­muchee and Pep­perell in their fi­nal games will give Pep­perell the three seed, as would losses for both Dade County and Pep­perell since the Lady Drag­ons swept the sea­son se­ries with the Lady Wolver­ines. But a Dade win over Ar­muchee gives the Tren­ton-based team the No. 3 spot.

So un­der that sce­nario, the first round of the 7-AA play­offs would have Gor­don Cen­tral trav­el­ing to the No. 3 seed, while Ar­muchee will play at the No. 4 seed.

Rock­mart’s only re­gion loss came at the hands of Chat­tooga when the Lady Yel­low Jack­ets lost 4-3 back in early this month. Since then Rock­mart (24-2, 13-1) has won 10 of its last 11 games, with its only loss com­ing to Coahulla Creek this past week­end.

Chat­tooga (14-7, 11-3) man­aged to hang on to the No. 2 seed de­spite los­ing six of its last 10 matchups, in­clud­ing be­ing swept by the Lady Drag­ons near the end of the reg­u­lar sea­son.

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