By Doug Gorman
The Strong Rock Christian Lady Patriots softball team hasn't scheduled any pushovers just because it's competing in the Georgia High School Association for the first time.
Strong Rock, which is ranked No. 8 in the gasport.com Class A coaches' poll with an 11-8 record, has already knocked off four-time defending Class A champion Eagle's Landing Christian as part of its first-ever season in GHSA after spending its early years in GISA.
"We are certainly happy with the way things have gone so far," said Strong Rock Christian coach Eddie Wise. "We are fortunate to have a good group of seniors who have been here since we got started."
That group of upperclassmen includes first baseman Jessie Romines, outfielder Leah Couch, second baseman Alex Jordan, third baseman Taylor Boling, shortstop Megan DeLong, outfielder Jennifer Forgette and first baseman Ansley Hughes.
Throw in junior pitcher Katie Shulties and sophomore catcher Kennedy Rae Brewer and the pieces are in place for a solid finish as the Lady Patriots gear up for a possible trip to the playoffs.
Strong Rock Christian faces a huge measuring stick next week when it travels to Chattanooga to participate in the Warner Park International Tournament Friday and Saturday.
Among the teams Strong Rock will play in the event is No-1 ranked Gordon Lee (17-0).
Gordon Lee already has an interesting history with one team from the Southern Crescent--ELCA. The two teams have met in the finals of the Class A tournament four straight times with the Lady Chargers bringing home the top prize.
The Lady Patriots will also have tough tests in the tournament against No.-5 ranked Excel (10-1), Cass, Bryan County and Lafayette.
"We know we are going to see some really good teams," Wise said. "We are using this to get some experience so we will be ready for the state tournament. We are going to give some of our young players some playing time. Playing in a tournament like this is going to help us down the road."
Rivals to meet: Softball fans may want to mark October 21 on their calenders. That's the day, No. 4-ranked Union Grove and No.-ranked Ola meet on the softball diamond.
The Lady Wolverines had been ranked as high as No.1 earlier this week before losing to Jones County.
This week, Union Grove is down to the No.-4 spot in the Class AAAA poll after being ranked second last week.
The Lady Wolverines lost 4-0 to Blessed Trinity Saturday .
Ola faced a huge test last night when it traveled to No.-1 ranked Jones County. Details from the game were not available at presstime.
Back above .500: After years of being the most successful team in Class A, the Eagle's Landing Christian Academy Lady Chargers have fallen on tough times this season.
For the first time in years, ELCA is not ranked in the Class A poll and their streak of winning the state crown four years in a row might be in danger.
But things are starting to look up for the defending state champs. After losing two games in a row at one stretch of the season, ELCA is above the .500 mark after beating both Stockbridge and Landmark.
The Lady Chargers get back in action Saturday when they play Wesleyan in a weekend contest between the two Classs A softball teams