The Alcovy Tigers clinched a spot in the Region 2-AAAAAA postseason tournament championship game Wednesday night, defeating rival Newton High 5-1 at home.
The Tigers scored three runs in the opening frame and never looked back, surrendering just one run to the Rams late in the game.
Nesha Morris led the Tigers at the plate with a 2-for-3 performance, while Raven Smith paced Alcovy with two runs scored in the 4-run victory.
"Anytime we win, I am certainly proud of how the girls played," Alcovy coach Russell Brock said. "Newton is a great team and there is certainly a little added to it because the girls have played with and against each other their entire lives. They put up a good fight and gave us a good game. We were just lucky to come out on top."
Alcovy jumped on the scoreboard early with three runs in the bottom half of the first inning, sending two runs home on a Kayla Johnson triple to center field. Johnson's blast scored Morris and Smith, giving the Tigers a 2-0 lead.
Alcovy plated a third run in the frame on a Newton throwing error, extending the Tigers' advantage to 3-0 heading into the second inning.
The Tigers notched another run in the second inning on their fifth hit of the contest, sending Aleizha Wilson home on a Chelsie Nolley single up the middle.
With a 4-0 lead heading into the third inning, Alcovy plated its final run on a Kayla Johnson groundout to second base, scoring Smith on the second out of the inning. Smith's second run of the game gave the Tigers a commanding 5-0 edge with four innings left to play.
Newton's offense found its groove in the fifth inning, plating its only run of the contest in the top half of the inning.
With short stop Ciara Bryan on third after the sophomore reached base with a triple, Maddie Cronic skied a fly ball to third base. Cronic's hit fell between two Alcovy defenders, scoring Bryan for the 5-1 final.
Bryan and Cronic finished with two hots apiece for the Rams, but the bottom six batters for Newton went a combined 1-and-18 at the plate in the loss.
Despite the lopsided offensive production, the Rams put balls in play in 18 of their 27 at-bats.
"I'm ok with how we played tonight," Newton coach Virginia Waters said. "We played really well. We made some ridiculous defensive plays in the outfield and we hit the ball against a great pitcher. We just have to put it all together. I feel like we've played well in the tournament and I hope they continue it.
"We could have a chance to see them again if we get past Luella," she said. "We have to be ready to play them again and step our game up."
Johnson earned the win on the mound for the Tigers, pitching seven complete innings while giving up one run on six hits. Johnson also had seven strikeouts on the mound.
Cronic took the loss on the mound for the Rams, giving up five runs in six innings on seven hits with one strikeout.
With a win over Luella, the Rams would face the Tigers Friday in the tournament final at 4:30 p.m. at Alcovy.