The statewide race to Montgomery is set to begin this week and four local teams are ready to toe the line in Tuscaloosa, as 56 different schools from seven different classifications will compete in the West-Central Regional Softball Tournament at Bowers Park.
Brackets will play out under a double-elimination formant with the top two teams from each classification advancing to the state tournament in Montgomery from May 15-18.
It would be Gardendale’s third straight state berth under head coach Barry Brake, who brings the third-ranked Rockets to Tuscaloosa following a dominant showing last week at the Class 6A, Area 11 Tournament. Gardendale (42-6-2) will start regional play with Area 10 runner-up Shades Valley on Thursday at 10:30 a.m. With a win, the Rockets would draw the winner of Pell City-McAdory in the winners’ bracket at 6 p.m.
Also on the 6A bracket, Area 12 runner-up Pinson Valley leads off with Area 9 champion Hueytown on Thursday at 12 noon. The Indians (20-28) will play the winner or loser of Homewood-Minor at 7:30 p.m.
In Class 5A, No. 5-ranked Mortimer Jordan hopes to make it back-to-back state tournament seasons. The Blue Devils (33-13) square off with Area 10 champion and third-ranked Springville on Friday at 12 noon. That game sits below Pleasant Grove-Southside (Gadsden) on the eight-team bracket.
Class 3A Fultondale (6-18) opens up West-Central Regional play with No. 4 J.B. Pennington on Thursday at 9 a.m. The Area 9 runner-up will play either the winner or loser of No. 6 Pleasant Valley-Lamar County later that afternoon.
Follow Sports Editor Erik Harris on Twitter (@jeharris2) for up-to-the-minute updates on local teams throughout tournament play.
West-Central Tournament: For Gardendale and Pinson Valley, the regional bracket looks like this. The third-ranked Rockets are the only top-10 team in the 6A field. pic.twitter.com/sDKH6xR0Wm— Erik Harris (@jeharris2) May 7, 2019
West-Central Tournament: No. 5 Mortimer Jordan is surrounded by three other top-10s, including 1 Hayden, 3 Springville and 7 Alexandria, in the 5A bracket. pic.twitter.com/t3muK9Ri2H— Erik Harris (@jeharris2) May 7, 2019
West-Central Tournament: For Fultondale, the road to state looks like this. The Wildcats open up with No. 4 J.B. Pennington on Thursday morning. pic.twitter.com/3z6ygLOJfT— Erik Harris (@jeharris2) May 7, 2019