For the first time since fastpitch softball started in Catoosa County in 1995 one of the teams will not be represented in Columbus for the state tournament.
Defending Class AAAA State Champion Ringgold and 2006 Region 7-AAAA Champion Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe will not be packing their bags for Columbus, Ga. this week.
LFO entered the tournament as the states top-ranked Class AAAA squad and Ringgold was second.
But the softball seasons ended abruptly for the Lady Warriors and Lady Tigers on Saturday at Hobgood Park in Woodstock in the State Sectionals.
Ringgold head coach Vince Phillips said the loss was hard to swallow. His seniors have won a total of 140 games and a state title in four years.
Its a heart-breaker, he said. We knew it was going to be tough, but we felt really good going in.
LFO head Coach Tony Ellis said coming into the tournament he knew what his kids were in for.
This is the hardest sectionals weve ever had, he said. I think there were seven teams ranked in the top 10.
The Warriors (31-4) set a new school record for the most wins in a season when they eliminated Dalton on Saturday before being eliminated by Eastside.
Both teams entered Saturdays play with one loss. The Warriors lost to Loganville (need score) on Friday, while the Tigers fell to Eastside (Need score).
Ringgold was eliminated by Cherokee, 3-2 in eight innings, on Saturday. Hard-throwing pitching ace Jessica Cross allowed two hits, including a homerun to the Cherokee clean-up hitter, and struck out 13.
Cross hit her second homer of the sectionals earlier in the day and drove in five runs in the Tigers 8-0 win over Alexander.
Phillips said it was a typical outing for Cross, who has committed to continue her softball career at Kenneaw State University.
She doesnt really know how good she is, he said. Shes cemented her legacy forever here in Ringgold.
LFOs Lauren Flores tossed a perfect game against Woodland, and a one-hitter against Dalton, the Warriors final game with Cherokee.
Flores, who has committed to the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, allowed only three hits in that game and struck out 13. But four errors in the field resulted in two unearned runs.
Lauren is one of the best ever to come out of North Georgia, Ellis said. And she proved it today.
Sequoyah, Loganville, Cherokee and Eastside all advanced to the state