The Eastside Eagles and Alcovy Tigers begin the second round of the Georgia High School Association softball state playoffs today.
As the No. 3 seed in their region, the Eagles will travel to take on Heritage (Catoosa) today with the first game of a doubleheader slated to begin at 5 p.m.
Eastside and Heritage will play a best 2-out-of-3 series, with a third game scheduled for Thursday at 5 p.m., if necessary.
The Eagles reached the second round after defeating No. 2 Redan 11-3 and 10-2 in consecutive games.
Eastside earned the No. 3 seed in Region 8-AAAA after defeating Lumpkin County 8-0 in its final game of the region tournament.
Eastside head coach Jason Stokes said that "fun" has been the focus of the Eagles this postseason.
"The girls have played through a lot of adversity this year," Stokes said. "Everyone, it seems, has been injured and we don’t have our strongest players out there playing every night. But, the girls haven’t given up and they are fighting and they seem to be having a lot of fun.
"That’s the most important thing right now," he said. "I feel like if they're having fun, they're going to be laid back and playing the best ball they can play."
The Eagles will take on Heritage High School of Catoosa County in the second round. The Generals finished with a 9-1 overall record in Region 7-AAAA B and are ranked No. 7 in the state by MaxPreps.com.
The Generals reached the second round of the state playoffs with a pair of shutout wins over Carrollton, defeating the Trojans 2-0 and 5-0 in back-to-back games.
Heritage defeated Northwest Whitfield in three games to earn the top seed in its region.
Stokes said the quality of teams the Generals have faced and beaten this year is impressive.
"Looking at their record and the teams they’ve beat, they are probably one of the strongest teams we've faced all year," Stokes said. "I want our team to continue to have fun and enjoy this experience. Last year we missed out on it. We didn’t even make it to the playoffs, so I don’t want them to take any game for granted. Just enjoy the opportunity."
Tigers in action
The Alcovy Tigers also continue their quest today for Columbus, but will have to move past second-round opponent Newnan to accomplish the feat.
The Tigers reached the second round in three games, winning two straight after losing their first-round opener to North Cobb. The Warriors defeated Alcovy 3-2 in the first of three, before Alcovy posted wins of 11-3 and 3-0 to put away North Cobb.
As the No. 1 seed from Region 2-AAAAAA, the Tigers will host their second round contest, with games beginning at Alcovy High at 4:30 and 6:30 p.m.
The Tigers will host the Cougars of Newnan, if necessary, Thursday at 5 p.m.
Alcovy finished the season as the region's top team, defeating Luella 4-3 on a walk-off 2-RBI single from senior Nesha Morris.
Newnan reached the second round with three wins over Colquitt County.
The No. 2 seed from Region 3-AAAAAA defeated the Packers 9-1 in its opener, but fell 4-3 in the second game. Newnan clinched the series with a 1-0 third-game victory.