The Central-Phenix City and Russell County softball teams begin today in their quests to turn area championships into a regional championships.
The Lady Red Devils (37-12) open at 11 a.m. against Northview in the Alabama High School Athletic Association Class 6A South Central Regional, which is being played at the Troy Sportsplex. Meanwhile, the Lady Warriors (16-19) open play in the Class 5A South Regional against host Gulf Shores at 9 a.m. at the Gulf Shores Sportsplex.
The regional winners will advance to next week's state tournaments.
Central set a single-season school record with its 37th win in the Area 7 title game against Auburn. It was the Lady Red Devils' fourth area title in the last seven years. In the other three, they were runners-up.
Central has advanced to the regional semifinals in 2009 and 2011. The last time Central made the state tournament came in 2001.
In the final Alabama Sports Writers Association poll, Northview was ranked No. 7. Central was not ranked.
In last year's regional, Central went 2-2, beating R.E. Lee and Wetumpka before falling to Dothan and Prattville. Dothan beat Prattville for the regional title.
For the Lady Warriors, their 11-1 win over Valley last week earned them a second straight area championship.
In last year's regional, Russell County was eliminated in two straight games, losing to Faith Academy in the opener, then falling to Spanish Fort. Faith Academy went to win the regional.