District champions have been crowned, but now is the time for teams to step away from teams they are accustomed to playing. Now is the time to play region semifinals with the loser’s season coming to an end.
Games in the region semifinals have been highly contested over the last couple of years, and taking a look at this year’s games, these should be some good ones also.
Teams must win the region semifinal and sectional games this week in order to earn a spot in the state tournament beginning May 19.
So here are five things to know going into the region tournament:
1For a team to make run in the postseason, one good quality pitcher is important.
Some teams around here have some good veteran pitchers like USJ junior Ally McFarland, Dresden senior Sam Seat, South Gibson junior Kaitlyn Martin, Camden senior Sarah Hooten and McNairy Central senior Kelly Beth Ernest.
Those girls have played in tough games and know how to deal with adversity.
But other teams are young in the circle, but those girls have also played well in big games this season like McKenzie freshman Audrie Washburn, Jackson Christian eighth-grader Jenna Arnold, Lexington sophomore Natalie Cogdell, Lexington freshman Brylie Brown and McNairy Central freshman Katie Turner.
But for a team like Adamsville, two quality pitchers is even better. Parker Davis and Gabby Morris are tough in the pitchers’ circle, and having two allows them to have games off to be fresh for the next outing.
2The most talked about region semifinal in West Tennessee has to be the one involving the defending Class AA state champion. In fact, the game involves the last two Class AA state champions.
Dyersburg, the 2014 state champion, travels to Lexington, the 2013 state champion, with only one keeping its season alive.
Lexington had to win four games in two days to win its seventh-straight District 14-AA championship. Dyersburg lost to South Gibson in the District 13-AA championship.
Theteams played twice in the postseason last year with Lexington winning 6-2 in the Region 7-AA championship, but Dyersburg eliminated Lexington from the state tournament with a 4-2 victory.
3The two-win season of last year seems to be long forgotten by Jackson Christian.
The Lady Eagles made the Division II-A state semifinals in 2013, but last year was a rebuilding year.
This season, Jackson Christian quickly made the move up the District 15-A standings. The Lady Eagles are two wins away from a possible return trip to state, in Class A this time.
Jackson Christian is young with two seniors on the squad – Ellie Dunavant and Kaela Dill.
4Two teams from District 13-A reached the Class A state tournament last season with McKenzie picking up a win and Huntingdon finishing in the top four of the state.
McKenzie and Dresden are the two representatives from District 13-A this season, but have tough matchups against quality teams in the region semifinals.
McKenzie hosts Union City, while Dresden must travel to South Fulton.
Union City was the top team in District 14-A all season, and South Fulton got hot at the right time to win the district tournament.
5University School of Jackson has already won the Division II-A West region tournament. The Lady Bruins beat Tipton-Rosemark, the defending Division II-A state champion, twice to win the tournament.
USJ has beaten TRA four times this season.
The next step for the Lady Bruins is a best-of-3 sub-state series towards the end of the week against fourth-seeded Friendship Christian for a spot in the state tournament.
Friendship Christian was the No. 4 seed last year also, but fell to TRA 2-1 and 5-1.
Michael Odom, 425-9754
Union City at McKenzie, 5:30 p.m.
Dresden at South Fulton, 5:30 p.m.
Jackson Christian vs. Oakhaven at Willow Park, 3:30 p.m.
GRAD Academy at Adamsville, 5 p.m.
Dyersburg at Lexington, 7 p.m.
McNairy Central at South Gibson, 6:30 p.m.
Camden at Marshall County, TBA