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Softball teams ready for state journey

By KEVIN ECKLEBERRY

Daily News

It’s state time.

The Callaway and Troup softball teams will begin their state-tournament journeys on Monday, while LaGrange has a first-round bye.

Troup, which finished second in the Region 2-AAAA tournament, will host a state-playoff series for the first time in the history of the program.

Troup’s opponent will be New Hampstead, the third-place team from Region 3-AAAA, and they’ll play a best-of-three series.

They’ll play a doubleheader on Monday starting at 4 p.m., and if necessary, a third-and-deciding game would be on Tuesday.

Troup earned the home series with a second-place showing to LaGrange in the region tournament.

After losing to Shaw in its first game, Troup bounced back to win three consecutive games before falling to LaGrange in the championship game.

Had Troup finished third or fourth in the region, it would have been on the road for the first round, so making it to the championship game was critical.

After beating Hardaway to stay alive in the tournament, Troup beat Columbus and Shaw on the final day to secure a second-place finish.

“It shows a lot about our mentality, and the fact that we don’t quit, and we’ll keep playing,” said Emilee Johnson, one of three seniors on the Troup roster. “We definitely did not want to go to Savannah. We had to win that (Columbus) game, and the Shaw game. We were going pick it up, and we were going to take care of business.”

If Troup beats New Hampstead, it would advance to the second to play either Dougherty or West Laurens on Oct. 22.

Callaway, which finished fourth in Region 5-AA, will be on the road for its first-round series.

Banks County, which won the Region 1-AA championship, will host the series, and they’ll play a doubleheader on Monday beginning at 5 p.m., and they’ll play a third game on Tuesday if needed.

Callaway lost to Heard County and Haralson County in the Region 5-AA tournament to finish fourth.

LaGrange, the Region 2-AAAA champion, has a bye in the first round since Region 3-AAAA only has three teams.

LaGrange will host a second-round playoff series on Thursday against either Cairo or Rutland.

LaGrange went 19-9 in the regular season, and it closed the regular season with a 7-0 road win over Whitewater on Thursday.

There are 32 playoff teams in each of the state’s seven classifications, and the final-four teams in each classification will meet in Columbus to determine the state champions.

STATE PLAYOFFS

TROUP

OPPONENT: New Hampstead

WHEN: Monday, 4 p.m. (doubleheader)

WHERE: Troup

CALLAWAY

OPPONENT: Banks County

WHEN: Monday, 5 p.m. (doubleheader)

WHERE: Banks County

LAGRANGE

OPPONENT: Cairo or Rutland

WHEN: Thursday

WHERE: Granger Park