The game will pit the two teams that make Polk County one of the best counties in Northwest Georgia in girls high school fast-pitch softball. Each team will have three or more players that were on the 2004 Rome News-Tribune All-Area team, including Co-Players of the year Lindsay Swafford and Mary York.
Swafford, a senior, will represent Cedartown while York, a junior, will look to continue her dominance as a Lady Yellow Jacket.
I think one of the most exciting things about this game is the fact that the two Co-Players of the Year for the area could be pitching against each other, said Cedartown Head Coach Buddy Harrison. I know Lindsay is starting for us and I am sure we will see Mary York.
Swafford will be on the mound for Cedartown and will look to duplicate the success she had last season against Rockmart.
In an early season matchup last fall, Swafford pitched the entire game of a 2-1 win over then No. 8 ranked Rockmart. Swafford had five strikeouts in the game.
Swafford continued to dominate and baffle opposing teams with her pitching as she went 14-5 with three saves, a 1.74 ERA and recorded 107 strikeouts in 125 innings in 2004.
York, who took the loss on the mound against Cedartown last year, rebounded from the defeat to have one of the best
pitching seasons in Northwest Georgia.
York finished 24-9 on the mound with a 0.81 ERA, 33 complete games and 12 shutouts.
Our team is real excited about facing Rockmart, Harrison said. It should be a really good game.
While Swafford and York are without question the superstars of each team, both clubs will enter the game with several other stellar players.
Cedartowns Emily Harrison, a catcher, returns for her senior year after making the Rome News-Tribune All-Area team as a junior.
Erika Vance, who had the game winning hit against Rockmart last season, and Courtney Martin and Gretchen Sanders are back for the Lady Bulldogs after making the Rome News-Tribune All-Area honorable mention team.
Besides York, Rockmart enters the rivalry game with shortstop Liz Clark and catcher Kayla Gordy as members of the 2004 Rome News-Tribune All-Area team.
Clark batted .328 last season with a .405 on-base percentage and a team high 38 base hits. Gordy belted two home runs and had a team high of 23 RBIs in Rockmarts run to the Class AA Elite Eight last season.
Other notable players for the Lady Yellow Jackets are infielder Lindsey Robinson, outfielder Amanda Pruitt and utility players Lydia Scarborough and Stephanie Owenby.
With the big rivalry game as the season opener for Cedartown this year,S the Lady Bulldogs were eager to practice hard in preparation for the game.
We have been practicing well lately, Harrison said. And whats real good is that we had our best practice of the year Thursday. So things are looking up right now.
But Harrison was quick to point out that while the Lady Bulldogs boast one of the best players in the area and while they do have six starters back they are still young at certain positions.
We will have some young girls start today, Harrison stated. They have been doing well in practice but you never know how they are going to perform in a game until they get out there. But from all indications they should do fine.
Though this game isnt make or break for either team, especially since they compete in different regions, it is still important.
Last year, Cedartown went 25-8, won the Region 6-AAA championship, went undefeated at the North State Sectionals, advanced to the Class AAA State Elite Eight tournament and finished ranked seventh in state.
Rockmart went 26-10-2 in 2004 and advanced through the Class AA North State Sectionals with a 3-1 record, finished runners-up in the Region 6-AA championship game and won two games in the Class AA State Elite Eight tournament before being eliminated.
To be able to open the season in a game like this is pretty special, Harrison said. The girls cant wait to play this one.