Teams face tough tests at region softball tourneys
Tharptown, Belgreen and Red Bay survived their area tournaments and will participate in the North Regional Tournament in Huntsville this weekend.
Finishing as the winner or runner-up in the tournament will secure the teams a spot in the state tournament in Montgomery next week, but it will be a tough challenge for each of these squads.
The Class 1A bracket, which begins play at 12:30 p.m. Friday, will be tough.
There are three teams in that bracket that were ranked in the final Alabama Sportswriters Association poll.
Belgreen’s first round opponent will be ninth-ranked Waterloo. These teams met in the region tournament last year with the Lady Bulldogs knocking the Lady Cougars out of the tournament.
Win or lose, Belgreen will face another ranked team in its second game. A win will set up a game against the Lynn-Woodville winner while a loss will set up a game against the loser of the Lynn-Woodville match-up.
Lynn is ranked second while Woodville is ranked 10th.
Tharptown will play Covenant Christian in the first round and play against either Athens Bible School or Brilliant in the second round. None of those three teams are ranked.
The earliest the Lady Wildcats could play a ranked team would be the third round, win or lose.
While the road looks tough for Belgreen and Tharptown, it is almost a walk in the park compared to what Red Bay faces in the Class 2A bracket.
The Lady Tigers are the only unranked team in the top half of the bracket and one of three unranked teams in the 2A tournament.
Red Bay will play No. 7 Addison at 11 a.m. Friday. The other game in the top half of the bracket is No. 3 Lexington vs. ninth-ranked Fyffe.
The bottom of the bracket features No. 2 Hatton playing an unranked Falkville team and sixth-ranked Ider vs. Westminster Christian Academy, which is unranked.
The earliest the Lady Tigers would face an unranked team would be the third round, win or lose.
Red Bay has shown it can play against top-ranked teams this season. It lost to Hatton twice in the area tournament, but both losses were the result on a single bad inning in each game.
The Lady Tigers played solid for the other 12 innings against the Lady Hornets.