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Tigers lock up home field
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Alcovy baseball finished the 2013 regular season with three straight wins, and it isn’t finished yet.

The Tigers earned the No. 2 seed in Region 2-AAAAA and will host Westlake in a double header starting at 4 p.m. Friday. The two will meet up on Saturday if necessary in the best-of-three series.

Westlake finished its regular season with a 13-10-2 record and earned the No. 4 seed in Region 3-AAAAAA seed. The Lions lost their final three games of the regular season and average 5.16 runs per game, while allowing 6.4.

The Tigers, on the other hand, have given up just three runs per game, notching seven shutouts and held their opponents to one-run three times.

Along with a stellar defense, Alcovy’s top three pitchers have been key to its success, getting into the playoffs for the first time since 2010. Jake Jones, Dalton Reagin and Tristan Payne have provided key starts for Alcovy, and will give it an advantage during the postseason, where every matchup is a three-game series.

“Of course we would like to win the first two (games in the series),” Alcovy coach Casey Bates said. “But the goal is to get to game 3. If you can get to game 3, and you have good starters, you already have an advantage.”

The three-pitcher advantage has helped Alcovy throughout this season, compiling a 19-6 record with its only Region 2-AAAAAA losses coming to Luella and its top pitcher. However, one pitcher can’t win a three-game series, and Alcovy is looking to get past the first round for the first time since falling to Marist in a two-game sweep in 2010.

Only Jones and Josh Beddington were on that playoff team, but didn’t see any action.

However, Bates tried to curb the lack of experience, by scheduling doubleheaders early in the season, including a two-game sweep by Alcovy over Eastside and Newton March 6.

“We did it on purpose to see what it’s like to play back-to-back,” Bates said. “We just need to play one game at a time. The coaches have to use strategy with pitcher, but you have to play one game at a time.”

To do just that, Alcovy will not only look to its pitching staff but also an offense, which has scored 30 runs in its last three games, and averaged 7.8 runs per game.

“There’s been times this year we’ve hit really good and times we haven’t hit at all,” Bates said. “We don’t have home run hitters but we have five or six guys that can hit a home run and five or six guys who are doubles hitters. Our goal is to get on base, and if we have to play small ball we will.”

The Tigers scored 21 runs in its last playoff win, and hopes to replicate the result starting Friday.

“Generally if we hit, we’re going to be fine and we’re going to win a lot of ball games,” Bates said.