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Alcovy Tigers baseball falls in the first round to the Evans Knights
Reece Payne 2024
Reece Payne (5) running down the first base line in the Tigers game one against Evans in the Class AAAAAA playoffs. - photo by Garrett Pitts

EVANS, Ga. — The Alcovy Tigers’ 2024 campaign ended in the first round following a sweep by the No. 1 seed Evans Knights in the Class AAAAAA playoffs.

The Tigers matched up with the Knights following a fourth place finish in Region 3-AAAAAA. Going into the matchup, Evans had a 23-6 record.

From the opening inning of the series, the Knights were on the attack.

Alcovy starter Cooper Duncan, who ended the season with a 5-0 record and a 1.8 earned run average, surrendered three runs in the opening frame.

Following an RBI single from Hunter Thompson, Hank Wimmer scored two more runs on a hit to give Evans a 3-0 lead.

The Knights scored an additional run in the third inning on a double from Bryant Rushing.

Offense was scarce for the Tigers in the opening four innings, as they only got two hits in that span.

However, the Tigers’ bats began to make things happen in the final three innings.

After Dylan Lester reached base on a hit by pitch, he later went all the way to third on wild pitch.

This allowed for South Georgia State signee Reece Davis to drive him in on an RBI groundout.

In the top of the sixth, Alcovy’s Luke Rosser and Parker Gassmann both scored from third on a pair of wild pitches from Evans’ Landon May.

With the Tigers trailing 4-3, the Knights added some insurance runs in the sixth inning that came to be crucial later in the contest.

A trio of base hits, along with an RBI groundout, scored six runs for the Knights in the sixth inning to extend its lead 10-3.

After scoring one run in the fifth and two runs in the sixth, the Tigers increased their run total once again in the seventh.

Following the first three batters reaching to load the bases, CJ Salmon drew a walk to score a run.

Two batters later, Gassmann walked to score another. With the bases still loaded, Brandon Scott scored from third on a wild pitch to reduce the lead down to 10-6.

However, Evans struck out Tristan Toussaint for the final out to win game one over Alcovy.

After his first inning, Duncan pitched four more frames and only allowed two hits, one run and struck out three batters.

Following a competitive game one, the Knights blanked the Tigers in the second game of the double header to secure the sweep.

In the first inning, the Knights jumped on Payne, who started the game for Alcovy.

Evans scored six runs on five hits and three walks in the frame.

Two frames later, the Knights posted another six-spot to extend their lead to 12-0.

Evans’ final run came in the fourth inning with a bases loaded walk.

Offensively, the Tigers were held to three hits in game two. Two of the hits came from Gassmann, while the other came from Duncan.

After Alcovy’s first two batters reached base in the fifth, Evans’ pitcher Patrick Matsunaga struck out three consecutive Tigers to end the game via mercy rule with a 13-0 victory.

Alcovy’s elimination ends its season with a 12-12 record. In Region 3-AAAAAA play, the Tigers went 8-5.

With the end of the season also marking the end of the careers for the Tigers’ seniors, head coach Kareem Hayes made sure to shine light on what they have meant to the program.

“I just told my seniors that they have nothing to lay their heads down on,” Hayes said. “They definitely battled, they played hard throughout the year. I am proud of them, I love them. I wish them nothing but the best going forward.”

With multiple key starters returning, Hayes hopes to see each player come back better than they left.

“Just to keep fighting. To keep competing and to get better each and every day,” Hayes said. “Always get one percent better every day.”