Madison County is headed to Columbus for what it hopes is the first of two trips to that city this year.
Columbus, of course, is the site of the state quarterfinals. But this weekend the Raiders (12-1) are making their annual trek to the Shaw Invitational, which features some of the best talent in the state.
The Shaw tournament has been a staple of the Raiders’ September softball schedule for the past 12 years.
“We’re looking forward to it this year,” coach Doug Kesler said. “Hopefully, we’ll play well in our pool play and see some good teams Saturday.”
Madison County played Wednesday night against an improved Winder-Barrow team, and won 1-0. Six days earlier, Madison County beat lowly Clarke Central 22-0 last Thursday in just three innings.
As for this weekend, the Raiders face Hardaway and Jordan in pool play Friday. Who Madison County plays Saturday depends on those pool play games, but chances are the Raiders will face someone good on day two. Lakeview-Ft. Oglethorpe, Cherokee County, Columbus, Lowndes County are some of the headliners of the tournament.
“We’ll see good pitching that Saturday, so that’s good,” Kesler said.
Madison County, however, won’t overwork its own pitchers trying to win the tournament. Kesler points out that Madison County faces two big subregion tests, Habersham Central (Sept. 15) and Apalachee (Sept. 17), when it returns from Columbus.