LaFayette Ramblers

Mother Nature would interfere with the Region 6-AAA tennis tournament at Lakeshore Park in Dalton earlier this week, and while the LaFayette Lady Ramblers did not claim a region championship, they got the top consolation prize - a first-round state playoff match at home.

LaFayette cruised past North Murray, 3-0, in their first match of the tournament before holding off a fierce challenge from Sonoraville in a 3-2 semifinal victory.

Tuesday's win over the Lady Mountaineers featured wins by Abby Keys at No. 1 singles (6-2, 6-0), the team of LaTyah Barber and Kloe Ludy at No. 1 doubles (6-1, 6-2) and the team of Caylee Purcell and Megan Torbett at No. 2 doubles (6-1, 6-0).

Grace Hamilton (6-1, 5-0) and Rylee Stansberry (6-2, 5-2) were both within a game of winning their individual matches when play was stopped following the clinching point.

Wednesday morning against the Lady Phoenix, Keys scored a 6-2, 6-1 victory at No. 1 singles and Hamilton won the first set, 7-6 in a tiebreaker. She was even at 3-3 in the second set when her opponent had to forfeit the rest of the match, giving the LaFayette senior the victory.

Sonoraville would take the victory at No. 3 singles and earned a victory at No. 1 doubles with a hard-fought three-set victory. However, the team of Purcell and Torbett would come through with a 6-2, 6-2 victory to seal the semifinal win.

LaFayette drew a tough Murray County team in the championship match after the Lady Indians knocked off top-seeded Rockmart in the other semifinal match. The Lady Ramblers defeated the Lady Indians, 3-2, late in the regular season, but Murray County would turn the tables with the region title on the line with a 3-1 victory.

The only point for the Orange-and-Black came from Purcell and Torbett, who claimed a 6-3, 6-2 win at No. 2 doubles.

The Lady Ramblers, as the No. 2 seed from Region 6, will host Gilmer, the No. 3 seed from Region 7, on Tuesday at 4 p.m. in the first round of the Class 3A state tournament. The winner will travel to Region 8 champion Oconee County, who received a first-round bye as Region 5 only sent three teams to state.

The LaFayette girls will be the only local team from Region 6 in the state playoffs. LFO lost 3-0 to Sonoraville in an earlier round tournament game, while Sonoraville would also eliminate Ringgold in its next match.

Rockmart would have to settle for the No. 3 seed as they beat the Lady Phoenix in the consolation match.

On the boys' side, LaFayette would see its season come to a close with a 3-0 loss to Sonoraville.

Logan Ramey had split the first two sets at No. 1 singles, while the team of Anthony Collins and Ben Maanum were up a set and tied in the second when the match was halted after the Phoenix scored its third point.

Ringgold would also lose its opening match to Rockmart.

Coahulla Creek went on to win the region title over Murray County, while Rockmart defeated Sonoraville for third place.

Scott Herpst is sports editor for the Walker County Messenger in LaFayette, Ga., and Catoosa County News in Ringgold, Ga.

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