Posted: Friday, August 15th 2008 at 10:36pm
White County, Habersham, West Hall dominate on opening day of Lanier Point tourney
By Jeff Hart Staff
GAINESVILLE -– The 2008 girls’ high school softball season officially got under way Friday as more than half of Region 7-AAA, including several Hall County teams, opened the season at the Lanier Point Softball Complex in the Lanier Point Invitational.
Host Gainesville, along with West Hall, East Hall, Chestatee, and Flowery Branch represented Hall County. Fellow Region 7-AAA teams White County and Pickens opened their seasons at the tournament.
Region 8-AA is represented by Banks County, Fannin County, Rabun County and Union County. Commerce out of Region 8-A and Region 8-AAAA playoff team Habersham Central also are in the field. Providence Christian, Hebron Christian, and Westminster rounded out the 16-team field.
The two-day tournament has the teams divided into four pools with the top two teams in each pool advancing to the Gold Division and the bottom two teams advancing to the Silver Division.
The three-game pool play will conclude Saturday with the championship brackets beginning at 2 p.m. The championship brackets are double-elimination with the championship games scheduled for 8 p.m. at Lanier Point.
In the Red Pool, Habersham won two games in dominating fashion beating both Gainesville and Commerce by identical 9-0 scores. White County beat Commerce 9-0 and will play Habersham at 9:30 a.m. Saturday. The Raiders already have advanced to the Gold Division.
In the White Pool, Providence won two games knocking off Pickens 6-3 and beating Banks County 3-0. Flowery Branch beat Banks County 3-1 in its only game. Providence has clinched a spot in the Gold Division bracket.
In the Blue Pool, West Hall opened with two wins nipping Hebron 3-2 and knocking off East Hall 11-3. Fannin County edged East Hall 5-4 in extra innings and will take on West Hall at 9:30 a.m. Saturday. The Spartans already have clinched a spot in the Gold Division.
West Hall coach Warren Sellers said he is glad to get the season under way.
"We had a good first day," he said. "We did some good things but we also saw some things we need to work on. Overall I'm pleased with how the day went."
Sellers said anyone can win the tournament and expects every game to be a challenge the rest of the way. The Lady Spartans won the tournament back in 2005 behind Paige Hanson.
"There are some really good teams so it should be very competitive in the championship rounds," Sellers said. "Habersham, White County, Providence all have very good teams and I think any of them would be considered favorites."
In the Gold Pool, Westminster beat Union County 1-0 in a tremendous pitcher’s duel while Rabun County beat Chestatee 5-1. Union County rebounded with a 4-3 win over Chestatee. The Lady War Eagles scored three runs and left the bases loaded in the bottom of the fifth inning to nearly pull off the upset. Union County will take on Rabun County at 9:30 a.m. in a battle for a Gold Division spot.
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