While the event officially got under way Wednesday night when Creekview played Cherokee, most of the teams will take the field for the first time tonight.
Because softball teams are limited to 28 games during the regular season, the Leadoff Classic isn’t played in tournament format. Teams were able to sign up for as many games as they had room for in their schedule, with most played today and Saturday.
Games will take place at Etowah, River Ridge and Milton today before shifting Saturday to Etowah, River Ridge, West Forsyth and Reinhardt University. Games originally scheduled to take place at Boling Park today have been moved to the Twin Creeks Softball Complex because of recent flooding of the Etowah River.
On Saturday, the tournament will include a six-team, bracketed championship to determine a title.
In all, 19 teams are in the event, with 17 coming off trips to the postseason. Among the top programs are Harrison, North Paulding, Sequoyah, Woodland-Bartow, Columbus, Milton, South Paulding, Dodge County and Blessed Trinity.
Cherokee coach Tonya Carlisle said the event is a good way to get in some non-region games.
“We didn’t have five games to play, which is what you usually play in a tournament, so we are just playing three,” Carlisle said. “We are just trying to get non-region games scheduled and then we are calling them tournaments.”
River Ridge, which also competed in the event last season, opened play Wednesday night. The Lady Knights will play another game tonight and three Saturday.
“There are some good teams playing in it,” River Ridge coach Scott Bradley said. “There is some good competition.”
Bradley said it is a good test for the players early in the season.
“It gives us a chance to see everybody,” he said. “Obviously, playing five games, you aren’t going to play the same people in every position every day. It just gives us coaches the opportunity to see who can play their position and who can get it done and who can’t.”