The Valdosta Daily Times
The Valdosta State softball team is ranked second in the first edition of the South Region standings, released Wednesday evening.
The reigning Division II national champion Blazers (30-8) are second in the region, coming in only behind fellow Gulf South Conference foe North Alabama (36-12).
Fellow GSC school Alabama-Huntsville (26-13) is ranked third, giving the conference the top three seeds in the region. West Alabama (23-16) is ranked seventh.
The other four seeds in the region are held by members of the Sunshine State Conference. Tampa (23-8) is fourth, Saint Leo (32-14) is fifth, Rollins (39-8) is sixth and Barry (22-15) is eighth. No representative from the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference is in the top eight.
If the South Region tournament were to begin this weekend, Barry would be dropped and replaced by the automatic bid from the SIAC.
The Division II Committee uses the region rankings to help determine which schools will comprise the eight teams chosen for the South Region Tournament, which begins in May. The champions of the GSC, SSC and SIAC all earn automatic entries into the tournament.
The South Region is split into two separate tournaments, with the top two seeds in the region serving as host sites. The winners of the two tournaments will face off in the Super Regional, with the winner of the best-of-three series advancing to the National Championship Tournament in Salem, Va.
The Blazers visit West Georgia Saturday and Shorter Sunday, before hosting Delta State and Christian Brothers next weekend. The GSC tournament will be held the first weekend in May and the South Region tournament will start the following Friday.
— Follow me on Twitter at @Ed_Hooper.