Despite winning a regular season regional title and a regional tournament championship, the Alcovy varsity softball team saw its ultimate goal fall just out of reach Wednesday night at home, as the Tigers fell in straight games to the Newnan Cougars to end their 2013 season.
Newnan defeated the Tigers 7-3 and 10-0 in two games in the best-of-three game series, advancing to Columbus.
The Tigers finished the season with a 23-10 overall record, just two games short of their final destination.
“I was proud of all of them,” Alcovy coach Russell Brock said. “We have three seniors, who will be missed, but we only have three seniors. I think we have 10 or 11 juniors coming back who will be seniors next year. We’ll be a senior strong team next year and our pitching, of course, is coming back, so (we’ll) look forward to next year.”
Newnan pitcher Tori Loveless gave up three runs on 13 hits combined in both games, as the Tigers struggled to find open spots in the Cougars’ defense. Alcovy put the ball in play, but its hits didn’t seem to find the same mark that Newnan’s did.
“They hit the ball very well,” Brock said. “I’ll be surprised if they don’t go far in the state tournament. I think from one to nine, they are probably the best hitters we’ve seen all year, by far…when balls fall, they fall. We hit the ball well, I thought, just not at opportune times.”
Newnan poured on the runs over the first two innings of the second contest, scoring eight runs in the first two frames.
The Cougars plated three runs in the bottom of the first inning, scoring Shakerra Geter on an Arden Jobe single before Jobe reached home on a Chaycie Goggins RBI-double to centerfield. Goggins reached home two batters later after Leslie Davis hit a shot to Alcovy shortstop Raven Smith. The ball took a bounce and careened off Smith’s glove, allowing Goggins to push the Cougars’ lead to 3-0.
Alcovy was poised to cut into Newnan’s lead in the second inning, placing a pair of runners on base with just one out. Jordan White advanced both Lexi Nolley and Aleizha Wilson into scoring position with a sacrifice bunt, but the Tigers were unable to push either across, closing the inning with a fly-out to center.
Newton added five runs to its lead in the bottom half of the second, tallying five hits in the frame.
Hannah Scarbrough plated the Cougars’ first run of the inning on a single, scoring Shania Colton, and Jobe knocked in her second RBI of the game with an infield single scoring Geter. Scarbrough crossed home plate on a Goggins’ sac-bunt, extending’s the Cougars’ advantage to 6-0.
Newnan scored its final two runs of the inning on back-to-back hits from Lindsay Stewart and Davis, giving the Cougars a commanding 8-0 lead heading into the third.
The Tigers picked up a pair of singles in the third from Smith and Kayla Johnson, but were unable to score either.
Alcovy closed the inning with a fielder’s choice and a ground-out to second, stranding a pair of runners for the second time in three innings.
Newnan's Lauren Ferguson added a run to the Cougars' total in the third on a Tigers’ fielding error, and Davis plated her second RBI of the game in the fourth inning on a double that scored Stewart for the 10-0 final.
Johnson led the Tigers at the dish with a 2-for-2 performance with a double, but picked up the loss in the circle, giving up 10 runs on 11 hits with a walk and three strikeouts.
Davis, Stewart and Jobe finished with multi-hit games for the Cougars, with Davis and Jobe finishing with two RBIs apiece.
The Cougars jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first inning of the series’ first game, scoring Geter on a Davis single with bases loaded with two outs.
Alcovy threatened in the bottom half of the first with two runners on with two outs, but it wasn’t until
the third inning that the Tigers put runs on the scoreboard.
The Tigers took the lead in the third with a 2-hit, 3-run inning, tying the Cougars after White reached home on a Newnan fielding error.
A Smith triple to right field gave the Tigers’ their first lead of the night when Chelsie Nolley touched home on the base hit, and Smith scored just one batter later on the Cougars’ second fielding error of the game. The Newnan miscues allowed the Tigers to carry a 3-1 lead into the fourth inning.
The Tigers’ lead, however, was short lived, as the Cougars plated four runs in the fourth to reclaim the lead.
Newnan touched home four times in the frame on four hits, the first coming on a Ferguson triple to left field.
Newnan tied the contest one batter later on a Loveless’ single, and Jobe put Newnan ahead 4-3 with a 2 2-out single. Newnan added another run, plating Geter on a Goggins’ triple for a 5-3 advantage.
Alcovy looked to cut in to Newnan’s lead in the sixth inning, placing Holly Murphy and Wilson on base with two outs, but White grounded out to short to end the frame.
Newnan tacked on two runs in the seventh on a Ferguson single for the 7-3 final.
Johnson earned the loss for the Tigers, giving up seven runs on 13 hits in seven innings. Johnson also gave up four walks and tallied seven strikeouts in the loss.
Chelsie Nolley and Smith finished 2-for-4 at the plate for the Tigers, with Smith record the Tigers’ lone RBI.