COVINGTON, Ga. — It was an unceremoniously ending to the Alcovy Lady Tigers’ season this past week. Though they defeated Riverwood twice, the Lady Tigers were swept by Effingham County toconclude their season in the Super Regionals.
Alcovy aspired to advance to the Elite Eight in Columbus to compete, but falling short just means one thing for head coach Miranda Lamb and the Lady Tigers.
“We have some unfinished business to take care of next season,” Lamb said. “And that is to not only make it to Columbus, but go and compete. We’re a young team, but I told the players they’re not babies anymore. Just with the experience from last year and this year, we shouldn’t be surprised next year. We want to make it down to Columbus and make sure we’re competitive when we get there.”
Despite the early playoff exit, Alcovy still put together a noteworthy season.
The team finished 26-8 overall, which is the best finish for the program since 2014. Alcovy’s 26 wins marks the most wins in a single season since it finished 27-4-1 in 2012. It also finished 14-0 in Region 3-AAAAAA and captured the region title for the first time since 2015.
Throughout every game, specifically in the Super Regionals, Lamb saw her players have a mindset shift.
“After winning the region championship, we’re no longer in an underdog situation,” Lamb said. “I think winning the championship got some people talking about us and, with the success we had this year, we will have to change that mentality. Over the offseason, hopefully that mentality will change to, ‘Hey, we’re supposed to be doing this.’”
Lamb stressed that she is already planning to schedule tougher non-region competition for next year because of what the players displayed in the Super Regionals. She said the players' willingness to do whatever it takes to compete jumped out to her in the team’s outings this postseason compared to last year.
“Their will to fight and having that want to win was a big difference this year,” Lamb said. “We got our feet wet last year and we just wanted to take in the experience. This year we came in to end some people’s seasons.”
Numerous players contributed to this year’s result.
CeCe Williams had a team-high .458 batting average with eight others batting above .300. Mackenzie Parrott led the team with five home runs followed by Makinzie Johnson and Williams with four apiece.
Ashlyn Hoy recorded 51 stolen bases, which placed her sixth in the state.
Senior ace Alexis Hernandez led the pitchers with a 1.80 ERA in 74 innings with 79 strikeouts compared to 22 walks. The only other senior on this year’s squad was Tajah Jackson who batted .209 with 12 RBIs and had six stolen bases.
And, though Lamb is sad to see the two seniors graduate from the program without going to Columbus, she has high anticipation for next year with 88% of this year’s roster expected to return.
“They're a good group of kids and I don’t mind spending my time with them,” Lamb said. “I’m anxious already to get back out there in February in the weight room and start working with that goal in mind of making it to Columbus.”