Slow-pitch softball opens spring championship schedule

When the inaugural GHSA Slow-Pitch Softball season was set to begin back in 1981, there were four classes. From classes A-4A, champions were decided in each class. The first official champions were Butler, Pike County, Heritage (Conyers) and Butler. Championships would be decided this way until 1998 when they added a 5A class and combined the 3A/4A classes.

It would only be three seasons before changes were made to the Slow-Pitch Softball classes. 2001 would be the first season since its existence that there would only be champions from three classes as both the 2A/3A and 4A/5A classes were combined. Surprisingly, the 1A class was the only class unchanged up to this point. Unsurprisingly, change was yet again on the horizon.

In 2002, only a season later, slow-pitch softball classes were downsized once again. The 4A/5A combination remained unchanged but the 1A, 2A and 3A classes merged together. During this odd time of adjustment, Pope remained a powerhouse program, winning four years straight from 2000 to 2003.

2004, is when we would see the slow-pitch softball state tournament format be changed to its modern-day layout. The Open event is based on four to eight areas, each area is responsible for choosing which four schools advance to the state playoffs. The four schools from each area then play in a double-elimination sectional tournament at four neutral locations. The first and second-place teams from each sectional tournament advance to the elite eight, where another double-elimination tournament decides who advances to the final four.

South Cobb was the first school to win with the new format in place but the previously mentioned Pope would reclaim its spot at the top with a raging surge of dominance after winning another three years in a row from 2005 to 2007. Following the 2008 season, slow-pitch softball was discontinued as the lack of teams participating was at the forefront of the nine-stoppage.

In 2017, slow-pitch softball had a resurgence as the GHSA picked up right where it left off. Since then, the tournament has been held and champions have battled through the tournament to hold the coveted state championship every since then, aside from the 2020 season due to COVID.

The last three champions are Haralson County, Creekview and Hart County. With the playoffs set to begin in less than two weeks, here’s a look at how the sectional bracket is shaping out.

In Sectional 1, West Laurens landed the first seed, along with a first-round bye. The winner of Stone Mountain and Baker County will play West Laurens on April 13th at 11:30 a.m. Second-seeded North Oconee also earned a bye as they await the winner of Macon County and Wilkinson County.

Thomas County Central also received a first-round bye, as they made the tournament at the three-seed. The winner of Dodge County and Redan will advance to play Thomas County Central and round out the sweet sixteen.

The first-round losers will have a second chance to continue their season as they will play in another tournament to make a last-ditch effort at the elite eight.


As of April 10th, none of the most recent champions appear in Sectional 1 of the tournament but when Sectional 2 is announced rest assured at least one familiar name should appear as they attempt to reach the mountaintop once more.



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