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SOFTBALL NOTEBOOK: Catching up with this season’s contenders

As many teams are entering the meat of their schedules, we take a look at how some Southern Crescent teams are positioned to make their run to the postseason:

Ola

The Mustangs are ranked No. 5 in the latest GACA Coaches Softball poll, and are riding high after their most recent win — a 15-0 route of Mundy’s Mill Thursday. Coach Gidget Gue’s squad has enjoyed strong pitching and defense so far, giving up an average of just 2.1 runs per game. Ola pitchers have recorded four shutouts on the way to a 6-3-1 record. Their only losses are to seventh-ranked Union Grove and defending AAAA state champion and second-ranked Northgate and a strong East Coweta team that leads its Region 3-AAAAAA. This weekend the Mustangs will compete in the Veterans Tournament in Watkinsville.

Union Grove

The Wolverines have won four straight contests and five of their last six. But that’s not the impressive part. The last team to score against Union Grove pitching was Calhoun. The Yellow Jackets beat coach Rod Pipkin’s team 6-3 back on August 25. Since then, Harrison, fifth-ranked Ola, Mundy’s Mill and Star’s Mill have all been shutout by Megan Betsa and the rest of the Wolverines pitching staff. No. 7 Union Grove will also head to Watkinsville for the Veteran’s Memorial tournament this weekend. Betsa got her 1,000th career strikeout Thursday in a 17-0 victory over Creekside. Betsa pitched just the first inning, striking out the side to reach the milestone. Sophomore Madison Moore finished the game with six strikeouts in two innings.

Jonesboro

The Cardinals haven’t lost since a 5-4 defeat at the hands of Stockbridge on August 23. But they also haven’t played since the Clayton County tournament on August 25 as games against Spalding, Mundy’s Mill, Dutchtown and Lovejoy were canceled due to rain. The Cardinals hope to continue its winning ways as it rounds out the week against Woodland with contests against Griffin, Forest Park and Riverdale on the horizon for next week. Despite its recent success, Jonesboro is still looking for its first Region 4-AAAA win of the season.

Locust Grove

At 12-4-1 overall and a perfect 4-0 region mark, the Wildcats are positioned for a Region 4-AAAA title as they get closer to the homestretch of the regular season. The back end of the schedule looks to be the most challenging part. It starts with a home game against fifth-ranked Ola Monday, then at undefeated Dutchtown on Tuesday. The winner of that game may very well take pole position on the regular season region title. Monday’s showdown against AAAAA No. 5 Ola should be entertaining.

Dutchtown

The Bulldogs now hold the distinction of being Class AAAA’s only remaining undefeated squad. They accomplished that feat by knocking off AAAA’s only other unbeaten when they posted an 8-3 victory over Stockbridge Wednesday. Dutchtown, now with a 2-0 mark in Region 4-AAAA play, sits in a three-way tie with Locust Grove and Woodland for the best region record. The Bulldogs will face Locust Grove Tuesday and will be depending on stout pitching from Tiara Scott to help combat the recently hot-hitting Wildcats. Scott has already pitched two perfect games for the Bulldogs this season.

Stockbridge

When the Tigers play Griffin to close out this week, it will be the first test of how they bounce back from a loss. The previously undefeated Tigers fell to 8-1 after its Wednesday loss to Dutchtown, and as it enters into the last two weeks of the season, Stockbridge will continue to count on the strong play of junior pitcher Camillia Carter, freshman third baseman Megan Prunty and catcher Katie Fuller to help keep Stockbridge from experiencing a letdown. This is still the Tigers’ best start to a season since the 2006 team that went to the state playoffs.