Monday marked the beginning of regular-season play for softball and volleyball. Three teams will start off the season with weekend tournaments on the road.
"I just want to make sure we play good competition," Harlem softball coach Mike Leverett said. "That way when we get to the region playoffs we'll be used to seeing that kind of competition."
That's the philosophy behind long road trips for fastpitch softball teams from Harlem, Greenbrier and Evans.
The Evans Lady Knights will travel to Class AAAAA South Gwinnett High School for a weekend tournament in Snellville, Ga.
Harlem and Greenbrier will leave Wednesday for the Madison County Sports Leadoff Classic in Danielsville, Ga.
"It's a situation to where we can play a lot of kids and try to go ahead and figure some things out early," Greenbrier softball coach Garrett Black said. "We'll also have the opportunity to throw some different pitchers."
Greenbrier will begin the tournament with a game against Stephens County on Wednesday at 4:30 p.m. Harlem will start off by facing Franklin County and Madison County in a Wednesday double-header.
The games seem to be exactly the reason coaches schedule such season-opening tournaments. It's all part of the routine.
"Normally the way we schedule it we'll do a tournament early, a tournament in the middle of the season and a tournament at the end," Black said. "For the first one we kind of have a little bit of an idea of where we're going, but we need to look at some things. In the middle of the season, at the Columbus tournament, we sense that we have a direction, and then that last tournament we know what the line ups are going to be come playoffs."
Greenbrier, which again reached the Class AAAA state finals tournament last year, entered the 2007 season ranked No. 6 in the Class AAAA preseason coaches poll. Only top-ranked Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe and Sequoyah, last year's state champions, are positioned higher than the Lady Wolfpack.
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