Final 2016 softball rankings

Another softball championship season is in the books as eight champions were crowned last weekend in Columbus. North Gwinnett, Cambridge, Buford, Central-Carroll, East Jackson, Harlem, First Presbyterian and Gordon Lee came away victorious.

Three of the eight champions—Cambridge, Buford and Gordon Lee—were Score Atlanta picks for preseason No. 1 in their classifications back in August, with Cambridge of Class AAAAAA and Gordon Lee of A-Public going wire-to-wire as the top teams.

Our last rankings on Oct. 5 came out during region tournaments, so the playoff field was not yet settled. As such, these final rankings give most of the weight to the teams’ performances in the first two rounds of the playoffs and the eight-team championship brackets.

In Class AAAAAAA, North Gwinnett overcame losing the Region 8 No. 1 seed to Mill Creek by going 4-0 in Columbus, including a 6-2 win over the reigning champ Lady Hawks to win state. Lassiter stayed put at No. 3 after wins over Lambert and East Coweta in the Elite 8, losing only to the eventual winner and runner-up. Unranked South Forsyth and Lowndes cracked the final Top 10 after strong championship showings, and four ranked teams—Grayson, Cherokee, Archer and Brookwood—failed to make the finals, with the latter two dropping out. Despite a South Forsyth win over Lambert in the Elite 8, Lambert stays one place ahead on the strength of a 3-1 head-to-head record and overall body of work.

Cambridge finished a truly dominant season by running the table in Columbus, giving up only two runs in its four wins there and blanking Creekview 4-0 in the Class AAAAAA clincher. The Lady Bears also gave up only one run in four games in Rounds 1 and 2. Heritage-Conyers and River Ridge surged into the final rankings after making it to Columbus. Previous No. 6 Houston County was the highest-ranked team in that class to miss the finals but held on at No. 10.

Region 8-AAAAA rivals Buford and Walnut Grove met a total of five times in October. Though Walnut Grove briefly unseated Buford at the top with a win early in the region tourney, Buford took the region title and beat Walnut Grove twice in Columbus. Unranked Harris County took out No. 6 Carrollton in the second round to get to the championship and won two games there, only falling to the two finalists. Harris replaces previous No. 3 Locust Grove, which bowed out in the first round to another riser, Ware County.

Central-Carroll lost the Region 5-AAAA to Chapel Hill but went undefeated through the playoffs, beating previous No. 1 Northside-Columbus 7-0 in the third game of the championships and 3-1 in the final game. Marist and Jefferson each dropped one spot to Nos. 3 and 4, respectively. The rest of the Top 10 teams stayed ranked save for previous No. 10 Northwest Whitfield, which missed the Elite 8 and was replaced by Oconee County.

Class AAA saw a lot of movement after previous No. 9 East Jackson rolled through the playoffs undefeated, knocking off previous No. 1 Calhoun 4-2 in the final game. Two title contenders and region mates—Lovett and Westminster—fell from Top 5 spots after failing to make it to Columbus. Westminster’s second-round loss came to previously unranked Crisp County, which moved to No. 7. Southeast Bulloch also made the final Top 10 after winning a game in Columbus.

Harlem and Vidalia held the top two spots in our Week 8 rankings and didn’t disappoint. However, Harlem would supplant Vidalia as the top team after prevailing 3-1 in the final series rubber match. Jeff Davis and Dade County replace Berrien and Pepperell in the final rankings, with Dade beating Pepperell head-to-head in the second round.

In Class A-Private, Wesleyan and First Presbyterian Day met three times in Columbus, with FPD taking the first game and the finals rubber match to take the state title. Only Mt. Paran, which lost in the first round of the playoffs, fell out of the rankings.

Gordon Lee was in danger of ending a stellar season on a sour note when it fell to Georgia Military 5-2 in the team’s third game in Columbus, but the Lady Trojans became the only state winner to come out of the losers bracket by besting GMC 6-5 and 7-2 in the final two games. Wilcox County moved up to No. 3 from No. 7 after winning three games in Columbus.

 

AAAAAAA

1. North Gwinnett

2. Mill Creek

3. Lassiter

4. East Coweta

5. Lowndes

6. Lambert

7. South Forsyth

8. Parkview

9. Grayson

10. Cherokee

 

AAAAAA

1. Cambridge

2. Creekview

3. Alexander

4. Pope

5. Harrison

6. Heritage-Conyers

7. Dalton

8. River Ridge

9. Lee County

10. Houston County

 

AAAAA

1. Buford

2. Walnut Grove

3. Harris County

4. Starr’s Mill

5. Whitewater

6. Union Grove

7. Thomas County Central

8. Ware County

9. Carrollton

10. Wayne County

 

AAAA

1. Central-Carroll

2. Northside-Columbus

3. Marist

4. Jefferson

5. Chapel Hill

6. Ridgeland

7. Stephens County

8. Oconee County

9. Mary Persons

10. Columbus

 

AAA

1. East Jackson

2. Calhoun

3. Pike County

4. Morgan County

5. Cook

6. Southeast Bulloch

7. Crisp County

8. Worth County

9. Ringgold

10. Westminster

 

AA

1. Harlem

2. Vidalia

3. Dodge County

4. Rockmart

5. Bacon County

6. Jeff Davis

7. Heard County

8. Dade County

9. Monticello

10. Social Circle

 

A-Private

1. First Presbyterian Day

2. Wesleyan

3. Tattnall Square Academy

4. Stratford Academy

5. Athens Christian

6. ELCA

7. Christian Heritage

8. Mt. Pisgah

9. Strong Rock Christian

10. Prince Avenue Christian

 

A-Public

1. Gordon Lee

2. Georgia Military College

3. Wilcox County

4. Telfair County

5. Glascock County

6. Trion

7. Bowdon

8. Mt. Zion-Carroll

9. Marion County

10. Schley County

 

 

 

 


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