Dawson County coach Jimmy Pruett knows this final week of the regular season will determine a lot about the Region 7-AAA softball tournament. He knows a pair of losses in the final two regular season games can send the Lady Tigers, currently the No. 2 seed, as low as fourth in what is expected to be a very competitive tournament.
The Lady Tigers have Buford on Tuesday and West Hall on Thursday to close out their regular season.
Region 7-AAA is one of the most contested softball regions in the area, making most spots in the upcoming tournament almost anyone's for the taking.
"You have to fight for positions two through eight," Pruett said. "It is really balanced.
"Anybody can beat anybody. You have to show up with your ‘A game' every day."
The clear favorite is six-time defending state champion Buford, which has already locked down the No. 1 seed.
Despite the Lady Wolves' commanding 21-1 overall record, including a perfect 11-0 record in region play, nothing is guaranteed when the tournament begins Saturday at Lanier Point Park in Gainesville.
East Hall, which finished with just five wins in 2012, has shown massive improvement this season. The Lady Vikings (11-13, 8-4 Region 7-AAA) have two games remaining - Tuesday against Fannin County and Thursday against Banks County - and will likely enter the region tournament as the No. 3 seed.
The rise of East Hall's team this season has only added to the competitive nature of the region, which also includes Fannin County and Banks County, both of which are above .500.
"The maturity of my juniors and seniors, they came and we talked about our goals and what we wanted to work on in the offseason," East Hall coach Jenny Crow said of her team's turnaround.
"They put it in perspective and we came up with one team goal, which was be top four in the region and make the state playoffs."