GHSA State Fast Pitch Softball Tournament preview

The GHSA State Fast Pitch Softball Tournament features somewhat of a new look this season with the introduction of Divisions I and II of Class A. Regardless of the reclassification cycle, 64 teams will still trek to the Columbus Softball Complex Wednesday to Saturday to crown champions in each of the state’s eight classes.

The eight double-elimination tournaments allow teams a chance to fight through the loser’s bracket after an early loss and mirror the newly introduced Super Regional playoff brackets which determined which programs made it to Columbus.


Returning to Columbus are defending champions North Gwinnett (7A), Lassiter (6A), Central-Carroll (4A), Wesleyan (A Private, now 3A), Appling County (3A, now 2A), Heard County (2A, now Class A Division I) and ACE Charter (A Public, now 2A).


In the state’s highest class, all eyes have been on top-ranked Buford. The Wolves went through the regular season undefeated before losing to Lambert 1-0 in the super regional. Buford then had to win out in the loser’s bracket and defeated Lambert twice (6-4, 4-3) to earn a trip to Columbus. Buford won 10-straight state titles from 2007 to 2016 but has not won a championship since. North Gwinnett opens its tournament against North Paulding, Hillgrove plays Kennesaw Mountain, Buford faces Parkview and East Coweta plays South Forsyth.

In Class 6A, top-ranked Pope plays Effingham County, Houston County faces River Ridge, Apalachee plays Veterans and South Effingham opens against Lassiter. Pope has two titles (2014, 2019) but each of the other teams are searching for their first state championship.

Loganville is ranked atop Class 5A and will play against Chamblee to open the tournament. The Red Devils have one state title (2001, 3A) to their name. Eastside opens tournament play against Harris County. Eastside has two titles in back-to-back seasons in 1998 and 1999. Northgate begins tournament play against Villa Rica. Northgate has won two titles (2007 and 2011) while Villa Rica is trying for its first. Northside-Columbus opens against Cambridge and each team is trying for the program’s second title. Northside won the the 4A crown in 2017 and Cambridge won the 6A title in 2016.

In Class 4A, top-ranked and defending-champion Central-Carroll begins its tournament trek against Wayne County. Central has titles in 2016 and last season while Wayne County is trying for its first. Islands will play East Forsyth as both programs try for their first championship. Walnut Grove will face Whitewater as both teams want first-ever titles. Three-time champion Heritage-Catoosa (2018-2020) will face championship-hungry West Laurens as it searches for its first title.


In Class 3A, defending Class A Private champion Wesleyan enters the tournament ranked atop the class and will play Jackson. Wesleyan has three titles – 2017, 2018 and last season and Jackson wants its first. Crisp County is trying for its first title and faces eight-time champion Oconee County. The Warriors won titles in 1996, 1997, 1998, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2008 and 2011. Bremen is looking for its first title and plays 2016 2A champion Harlem to open play. Gordon Lee has 11 titles and won six straight from 2015 to 2020 and standing in the way of its 12th championship is Pike County as it tries for its first title.

Top-ranked Jeff Davis opens 2A competition against Eagle’s Landing Christian. Jeff Davis has never won a state title while ELCA has seven – 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2013, 2014 and 2015. Rockmart has one title (2017) and plays 3A defending-champion Appling County to begin the trek toward its second championship. Union Grove faces Pierce County to begin each program’s journey toward the team’s first title. Academy for Classical Education won the A Public title last year and will face 2020 A Private champion Mount Paran Christian as each team tries for its second title.

In Class A Division I, three-time champion and two-time 2A defending champion Heard County is ranked atop the class entering the tournament. In its way is Social Circle as it tries for its second title following the 2018 2A championship. The rest of the bracket are all wanting first-ever titles and Pepperell opens tournament play against Bryan County, Bacon County faces Prince Avenue Christian and Bleckley County meets Mount Vernon.

In Class A Division II, top-ranked Emanuel County Institute will begin its tournament against Bowdon. Emanuel is trying for its first title while Bowdon wants its second after winning the Class A title in 2005. Hawkinsville plays Glascock County as both teams try for their program’s first-ever championship. Two-time champion Georgia Military won back-to-back titles in 2014 and 2015 and meets a hungry Wilcox County team which wants its first title. Also trying for first-ever titles, Lanier County will play Schley County to open the tournament.


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