Staff Photo: John Bohn Jennifer Edwards, softball coach at Grayson.
Mill Creek softball coach Roger Parham knew Jennifer Edwards the player long before he knew her as Grayson's softball coach.
Parham coached South Gwinnett's softball team when Edwards was a standout at pitcher at Brookwood in the late 1990s.
"It doesn't make me feel old," Parham joked this week. "I am old."
While Parham remembers her as a good player, he is more concerned with Edwards' well-coached team this week when his Hawks travel to Grayson for a second-round series in the Class AAAAAA playoffs. The first two games of the best-of-three series are Wednesday, and a trip to the state finals in Columbus is at stake.
"It's going to be a tough game," Parham said. "Jennifer does a good job. They'll be well-coached. (Grayson's) Taylor Denton is going to be a difficult out, but they've been playing really well up and down the order."
Denton, already a three-time all-county selection who should make that four times later this year, sparks the Grayson offense and is the county's reigning defensive player of the year at shortstop. Amber Miller, Stephanie Snyder, Sierra Smith and others also have played well for a team that has lost only three times in its last 17 games.
Breanna Ethridge, Jen Spangler and Peyton Glove have been solid pitching for the Rams.
It's been a more up-and-down, late-season spell for the Hawks, who lost five college signees off last year's state runner-up team. But the newcomers have boosted a lineup that returned standouts like Lauren Bennett, Taylor Rogers and Morgan Bell from last season's record-breaking offense.
Meanwhile, Kaitlyn Howell and Heather Felt have delivered solid pitching for Mill Creek.
And enough veterans return, whether they played a key role or not a year ago, that their experience should help in the postseason.
"They understand the different level of intensity that comes with playoff softball," Parham said.
Best two-of-three series
(all games doubleheaders)
Archer at North Gwinnett
Collins Hill at Milton
Lassiter at Peachtree Ridge
Mill Creek at Grayson
Franklin County at Buford
Washington-Wilkes at Wesleyan