Rockmart stays on top in softball
♦ Lady Jackets were waiting for region tournament to start, get into state playoffs
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.