The No. 3-ranked Lady Jackets, who are seeking the school’s first-ever softball state championship, are determined not to get caught up in the hype that surrounds the tournament.
Rather, the Lady Jackets are ignoring the records and disregarding the rankings — and focusing only on their goal of bringing home the title. And the trophy.
“We just want to go out and play ball,” said Rockmart junior pitcher Brandi Hughes. “You hear all this stuff about how good the other teams are and all kinds of things like that. But you don’t know whether to believe it or not. … So, our thing is, we’re just ready to play.”
Rockmart (27-8), making its first appearance in the quarterfinals since 2003, will open the three-day, double-elimination event today at noon, facing Berrien (32-6) in the first round.
If the Lady Jackets win, they will play tonight at 5:30 against either Dade County or Cook. If Rockmart loses its opener, the Lady Jackets will play on Friday morning at 9 a.m.
Either way, the Rockmart players aren’t worrying about who they might face or what path they’ll need to take to reach the finals.
“Honestly, I haven’t even looked at the brackets,” said senior center fielder Kellee Stone. “And there’s really no point in doing that. We just have to concentrate on ourselves, not (our opponents).”
Rockmart, the Region 7-AA champs, enters the Elite Eight having won 15 of its past 18 games.
The Lady Jackets have gone 7-2 in the postseason, including winning four of five games during last week’s state sectionals. They swept Lovett in an opening-round series, and then took two of three from Banks County.
Now, they will look to keep the momentum going for three more days.
“It’s satisfying to know that we reached our goal of making it to Columbus, but at the same time, we know we can do more,” said Stone.
Although this will be the first quarterfinal appearance for any of the current Rockmart players, the Lady Jackets don’t expect to be overly awed by the atmosphere.
“I think once we get out there, and get that first inning under our belts, we’ll be able to settle in and play the way we can play,” said outfielder Janell Echols. “I don’t really know what to expect, so I am just going to go with the flow.”
To read the complete story, please visit our prep sports Web site at www.prepcentralonline.com. Once on that Web site, highlight at the top of the page "teams and players" and then click on Georgia. Once that box comes up, click the Rockmart team page to view the rest of this story and other Rockmart sports stories