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This week: Region softball tournaments begin

POSTED: September 23, 2012 9:43 p.m.

Region tournaments for area softball teams begin this week, and teams will be vying for one of the coveted top four spots to clinch a trip to the state tournament.

The Region 8-AAAAA, 8-AAAA and 8-AA tournaments all start Tuesday.

For Gainesville, a run in the 8-AAAAA tournament has the potential to be a long one, with the tournament running until Oct. 4, when the championship and third place games are played.

Of course, the No. 7-seed Red Elephants would have to get past quite a few opponents along the way, including a Round 1 matchup with No. 6 Salem at 5 p.m. Tuesday at Winder-Barrow High in Winder.

If Gainesville (5-22, 2-6 region) wins it would meet Hall rival and No. 3-seed Flowery Branch (16-12, 6-2) for a doubleheader Thursday at Flowery Branch and a third game, if needed, on Friday. The winner guarantees a spot in the state tournament and will play No. 2 Heritage (27-2, 7-1) Oct. 1 (third game Oct. 2 if needed) with the winner advancing to the championship game and the loser to the consolation finals.

There’s one region full of area teams that is still finishing up the regular season.

Class AA defending state champion Buford will look to start a run at a Class AAA title when the Region 7-AAA tournament begins Saturday at East Hall Park.

First, the Lady Wolves (18-1, 6-0) still have to conclude the region slate in order to lock up the No. 1 seed, including a Wednesday game in Buford against Dawson County (13-6-1, 5-0), which also plays North Hall (10-13, 2-4) on Monday.

HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL: A couple of big region games for area teams dot the schedule Friday, including Gainesville (3-1, 2-0 8-AAAAA) hosting Heritage (4-0, 2-0) in a battle of ranked opponents.

It’s the first big region test for the Red Elephants, who were region champions in 8-AAA last season and are going against the defending co-region champs in 8-AAAA.

Another big region matchup, in 7-AAA, features North Hall (2-1, 0-0) against Dawson County (3-1, 1-0) in a matchup of two teams in contention for one of the four top spots in the region.

HIGH SCHOOL VOLLEYBALL: Area 5-AAA could look a little different after Tuesday’s quad-match at North Hall. In addition to the host Lady Trojans, St. Pius, Decatur and East Hall will all be playing, accounting for half of the area’s eight teams.

Three of the other four will be at Buford the same night, including the host Lady Wolves, Blessed Trinity and Cross Keys.

HIGH SCHOOL CROSS COUNTRY: Riverside Military hosts the RMA Invitational on Thursday at Maginnis track field in Gainesville, one of a number of meets this week involving area teams.

Flowery Branch will test itself out against a number of other Class AAAAA teams in the Aubrae Gudnerson Invitational on Saturday at the International Horse Park in Conyers.

ATLANTA BRAVES: The Braves (88-65) hosts Miami (66-87) for a three-game series starting Tuesday at Turner Field in Atlanta.

Game 1 at 7:10 p.m. Tuesday features Atlanta right-hander Kris Medlen (9-1, 1.51 ERA) against Miami right-hander Nathan Eovaldi (3-6, 4.59 ERA).

ATLANTA FALCONS: The Falcons (3-0) travel to Arrowhead Stadium for a 1 p.m. Sunday start against the Kansas City Chiefs (1-2).


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