Lanier Point Invitational
When: Starts 5 p.m. today; 8 a.m. Saturday
Where: Lanier Point Park
Gainesville vs. Commerce, 5 p.m.
East Hall vs. White County, 5 p.m.
Jefferson vs. Johns Creek, 5 p.m.
North Hall vs. Flowery Branch, 5 p.m.
Wesleyan vs. Dawson County, 6:30 p.m.
White County vs. Union County, 6:30 p.m.
Fannin County vs. Habersham Central, 6:30 p.m.
Gainesville vs. Wesleyan, 8 p.m.
East Hall vs. West Hall, 8 p.m.
Jefferson vs. Fannin County, 8 p.m.
Flowery Branch vs. Rabun County 8 p.m.
High school softball season opens today with the 11th annual Lanier Point Invitational, one of the largest tournaments of the year in terms of teams competing.
Schools from all over the area will arrive at Lanier Point Athletic Complex this afternoon with hopes of a tournament title in their heads, not to mention getting a first look at some of their region foes.
“Pretty much all the teams in it are highly competitive teams,” said Michelle Green, Gainesville High softball coach.
Teams from regions as small as 8-A to as large as 7-AAAAAA will compete in the tournament, which starts at 5 p.m. today with pool play at Lanier Point.
The red pool is comprised of Dawson County, Gainesville, Commerce, and Wesleyan. The white pool includes West Hall, East Hall, Union County, and White County, three of which compete in region 8-AAA.
Jefferson, Johns Creek, Fannin County, and Habersham Central make up the blue pool, while North Hall, Gilmer County, Flowery Branch, and Rabun County are in the gold pool.
Union County will not only look to defend its Lanier Point Invitational title, the players may get a chance to test themselves against region 8-AA members Jefferson and Rabun County. After winning the tournament last year, the Panthers went on to compete in the postseason, losing to North Murray in the first round.
Green feels that winning at Lanier Point is a good launching pad for the rest of the season.
“It’s a confidence booster from the get-go, even if you finish the tournament 4-2,” she said.
Teams such as Commerce and Johns Creek will not see any other teams from their region in this tournament, but they still have a tournament title to compete for and can use the other benefits of the difficult tournament.
“It’s a good time to get to know your team,” Green said, “I use it as preparation for my region schedule.”
Each team will play six games, three in pool play and three in bracket play. The top two teams in each pool will
advance to the gold bracket to play for the championship, and the bottom two teams will play for the silver bracket championship. Pool play continues tomorrow at 8 a.m. and bracket play will begin at 12:30 p.m.
Gainesville will play Commerce first in pool play at 5 p.m. East Hall will face Region 8-AAA opponent White County, and Jefferson will compete against Johns Creek. North Hall will face Hall County rival Flowery Branch.