By Stephen Black
What: State championship softball tournament
When: Thursday through Saturday
Where: Columbus Softball Complex
The GHSA state softball tournament moves into the semifinals Thursday as the eight teams left in each classification will play what essentially is a double-elimination tournament through Saturday in Columbus. The brackets are divided into a winners and losers bracket with the championship games being played Saturday.
Only three defending champions made the semifinals, led by Buford in Class AAA. The Wolves have won state championships each year since 2007 and have been ranked No. 1 all season. Coach Tony Wolfe’s team enters the state tournament at 33-1 and has won 21 consecutive games.
Northwest Whitfield in Class AAAA and Gordon Lee in Class A-Public are the only other defending state champions to make the semifinals.
In Class AAA, Pike County’s Marley Stowers brings a .592 batting average with her to the 4-team playoff. Stowers also has 13 wins in the circle and a 1.37 ERA for the Pirates, who started the season 6-11 only to win eight straight games coming into today.
Creekview used two complete-game performances by pitcher Gracie Dorr in the quarterfinals series against Apalachee. This is the third time the Grizzlies have been to Columbus. Also in Class AAAAA, Pope returns for the second straight year and second time in Columbus overall.
In Class AAAAAA, Gwinnett County has three teams (Brookwood, Collins Hill, North Gwinnett) in the semifinals while Cobb brings four (Harrison, Hillgrove, Kennesaw Mountain, Lassiter). Gwinnett County teams, including Archer last season, Collins Hill from 2009-2011 and Mill Creek in 2008, have won the past five state championships in the state’s largest classification. In 2007, Lassiter won the last state championship of any Cobb team.
Collins Hill is the current No. 1 in Class AAAAAA and is the lone team in the state to have beaten Buford.