Let the regional battles commence!

Published 12:00 am Friday, May 7, 2010

Andalusia outfielder Megan Pugh gets a hit at the area tournament last week. | Andrew Garner/Star-News

Approximately 10 miles away from the Gulf Shores Sports Complex, state officials are fighting the oil spill that — some say — is getting progressively worse before it gets better.

However, this weekend three local teams will be fighting a battle of their own at the Alabama High School Athletic Association’s South Regional Softball Tournament.

Andalusia, Straughn and Pleasant Home earned a trip to the regional tournament after putting up dominating performances in their respective area tournaments.

Straughn swept Luverne to claim the Class 3A, Area 3 title; Andalusia finished runner up to Thomasville in Class 4A, Area 3; and Pleasant Home finished runner up to Kinston in Class 1A, Area 3.

As I began to think about what this column would be about, it was obvious — that each team will do whatever it takes to earn a spot in Montgomery.

Throughout the interviews I had with each coach this week, there was a similar theme evident.

Each said, in a way, that their team will go down to the regional tournament and try their best.

And, I believe that’s what is going to happen.

Last year, the same three teams advanced to the regional tournament, and two teams made it to the state tournament — Straughn and Pleasant Home.

At the regional tournament, the top two teams from each classification advance to Montgomery.

Throughout this season, Andalusia has had its ups and downs, but I truly think they will rise to the occassion at regionals this weekend.

The players even believe they will do well.

On the popular social-networking web site Facebook, junior pitcher Paige Caraway said Wednesday that she is ready for the tournament.

” ‘Pitchers, like poets, are born not made.’ Cy Young. So ready for (Thursday),” she said. “Let’s put on a show down in Gulf Shores.”

That is just one of the many Andalusia players showing their enthusiasm about the tournament this weekend.

The other two teams — Straughn and Pleasant Home — have a little bit more pressure this year because of the success they had last year.

The Lady Tigers sailed the ocean blue through the 2009 regional tournament flawlessly, and Pleasant Home ended up finishing runner up again to Kinston.

Now, that was an exciting sight to see.

I am extremely excited about traveling down to the beach this weekend to watch what can be an incredible tournament.

I’m hoping that all three teams will advance to the state tournament in Montgomery, because I know they can.