Despite falling to Madison County 6-1 in region action Thursday afternoon at Tiger Field, the Alcovy (16-10 overall, 5-7 Region 8B-AAAA) varsity softball team still has plenty to play for this season.
"We didn't hit the ball when we needed to," said Alcovy head coach Casey Bates, "and we didn't get the timely hits. But that's what makes the game the game. We had plenty of runners in scoring position, though."
Meanwhile, the Lady Red Raiders (20-9 overall, 11-1 Region 8-AAAA) had been one of the top teams in the region throughout most of the year. That is until Eastside (23-6-1, 11-1) clinched top honors last week with a victory over Habersham Central.
With the conclusion of the game, it ended the regular season for the Lady Tigers. However, Alcovy secured the No. 8 seed and will face crosstown rival Eastside, who clinched the No. 1 seed, during the first game of the Region 8-AAAA Tournament at 3 p.m. Tuesday at Eagle Field.
On Sept. 25, Eastside defeated Alcovy 6-2, their only previous matchup this season.
"We're going to go in there and give (Eastside) all we've got," said Bates. "If we can go in there and do our part maybe everything will fall into place.
"Eastside is a really good team and really well-coached, (but) anything can happen in a region tournament."
Alcovy has certainly come a long way in just its second year of existence. In 2006, the Lady Tigers were 4-19 overall - far from where they have come so far this season.
Bates has attributed the quick turnaround to his younger players stepping up, as well as his older players doing their jobs on and off the field.
One such example is when the Lady Tigers crushed Cedar Shoals 16-1 on Tuesday with six starting Alcovy freshmen in the lineup.
"Right now we're pitching really well and playing pretty good defense," said Bates. "When we do those two together we always stand a chance to win at the end."