The 2017 Region 2-6A softball season shares a few parallels with its 2016 counterpart. Hurricanes threw a wrench into both seasons, the same four teams are heading to the playoffs for a second year in a row and a clash between rivals will play an integral role in deciding the seeding for the postseason.
Brunswick High and Glynn Academy will square off at 5:30 p.m. today at Glynn in a first-round region tournament game. Only the top four teams from the region advance to the tournament with the No. 4 seed playing the No. 3 seed and the winner advancing to play the No. 2 seed. The winner from the second game then plays the No. 1 seed for the region title and a No. 1 seed heading into the state tournament.
The regular season champion gets a bye into region championship game, securing at least one home game in the playoffs. That was decided Monday in the final region game of the year between Effingham County and Richmond Hill. The result was not known as of press time.
The Lady Terrors (8-10 overall, 6-6 region) and Lady Pirates (7-16, 4-8) solidified their seeding during their three-game region series last week. Now, the teams will meet again for the fourth time in just over a week with the stakes raised higher than they usually are between the crosstown rivals.
“These girls have played against each other since they were growing up,” said BHS head coach Brian Crawford. “There’s no surprises. It’s all about whichever team is going to be more consistent. I think it will be a great matchup. Hopefully it will be a good turnout and some competitive ball the community will appreciate.”
Brunswick and Glynn have reversed roles this season. Last year, the Lady Pirates were the higher seed, beat Glynn and upset No. 2 seed Effingham County to get to the championship game.
This year, Glynn is the higher seed and hoping to surpass what it did last year. Even though the 2016 Lady Terrors were the No. 4 seed, they swept No. 1 seed Mundy’s Mill in the first round before losing in the second round.
Glynn enters the postseason having won five of its last six games, including taking two from Brunswick last week.
For the Lady Pirates, they’re hoping to replicate their run in 2016. After earning the No. 2 seed, the Pirates beat Lovejoy at home in the first round before losing to River Ridge at home in the second round.
Even though his team has struggled more this season, Crawford has emphasized the positives with his team.
“With the issues we’ve had this season, (our fortunes) can change overnight because it’s all mental,” Crawford said. “If we just relax a little more and find that balance we need to stay consistent, some good things can happen just like last year.”
The big issue on display during the Glynn series was defense, with the Pirates giving up unearned runs in bunches because of errors. Crawford has been pleased with the job his pitchers have done this season and said it is key they not let the defensive issues get in their heads.
“The pitching staff has done everything we can ask for,” Crawford said. “They’ve done nothing but grow throughout the year. It’s been nice to see them answer when opportunities have arose. I know their teammates hate to see the inconsistent play defensively. They want them to succeed just as bad an anyone else. The pitchers have to do their job and trust that the defense is going to make plays.”
Multiple attempts to reach Glynn Academy head coach James Horton were unsuccessful Monday.