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6 local teams still in softball playoffs

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It was a strong start to the Georgia softball playoffs for several area teams.

Six of the nine local squads to reach the postseason advanced to the second round, and all did so with sweeps in their best-of-three series.

With only Lincoln County, Washington County and Cross Creek bowing out, here's a look at what's ahead for those vying for a spot in the Elite Eight in second-round series beginning Wednesday:

Class A

Strong Rock Christian at Washington-Wilkes

The Tigers squeaked past Athens Christian in the first round, winning by a combined three runs in two games. They will face the second-seeded Patriots, the 10th-ranked team in the state.

Class AA

Screven County at Pike County

Runs will likely be at a premium in this series. Second-seeded Screven County allowed only three runs in its first-round sweep of Cook. Top-seeded Pike County allowed just one in its two games.

Class AAA

Harlem at West Laurens

The second-seeded Lady Bulldogs outscored Cairo 24-1 in the first round. It won't be nearly that easy to get past the top-seeded Raiders, who haven't given up a run in their past 10 games.

Locust Grove at Thomson

Top-seeded Thomson gets its second consecutive series against a team with a losing record. Third-seeded Locust Grove is 14-16 and coming off a three-game series upset against Rutland.

Class AAAA

Whitewater at Greenbrier

The top-seeded Wolfpack have their hands full with Whitewater. The third-seeded Wildcats are 28-9 and as good a team as Greenbrier has seen all season.

Northgate at Evans

Third-seeded Evans ripped through Morrow on the road in the first round and get to come home for the second round. But the fourth-seeded Vikings, 27-9 and ranked eighth in the state, won't exactly be a pushover.

DOWN TO THREE: Only three local teams remain in the Georgia volleyball playoffs. Greenbrier, Evans and Grovetown advanced to the second round, while Westside, Hephzibah and Cross Creek were eliminated.

Here's what's ahead for the survivors in today's second round:

Class AAA

Cartersville at Grovetown

The top-seeded Warriors continue to roll in their first postseason appearance. They will face a second-seeded Purple Hurricanes squad that has been streaky, with losing skids of four and five this season to go along with two six-game winning streaks.

Class AAAA

Greenbrier at Pope

The third-seeded Wolfpack face the team that eliminated them from the Class AAAAA playoffs last season. The top-seeded Greyhounds went on to win the title before moving down in class, and they are ranked No. 1 in AAAA with a 50-1 record.

Evans at Jonesboro

The second-seed Lady Knights won a five-set match over Flowery Branch to advance to the second round. The top-seeded Cardinals, winners of 34 of their past 38 matches, present an even bigger challenge.

COUNTY'S BEST: The Hephzibah boys and Cross Creek girls cross country squads won the team titles at the Richmond County 5k meet held at Diamond Lakes on Wednesday.

Hephzibah's Raphael Armenta won the boys individual title, finishing in 16:09.

Rachel Bivens, of A.R. Johnson, cruised to the girls division win, crossing the line in 21:40.

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