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From the Cheap Seats
Softball a measure of success for Covington programs
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October was a busy month for me on the softball diamond.

Usually during the week, I'd have the opportunity to catch one or two games between volleyball and football.

Usually that would mean a match-up between two Covington teams, or the rare game between a Newton County and Rockdale County program.

Over the last three weeks in October, that changed, as softball moved to the forefront of Newton County athletics.

All three Newton County public high schools made a run at region titles this fall, with Alcovy High School capturing the Region 2-AAAAAA championship over Luella.

The Tigers hosted the region championship as the overall No. 1 seed, and I got a chance to watch the Tigers, and Rams, play three days of exciting games.

Alcovy's gritty comeback over the Lions showed the determination of a squad that I had seen all year. The Tigers' one dream was to reach Columbus, and with a region title, Alcovy had set itself up to reach that final destination.

The Tigers fell short in the second round of the state playoffs to Newnan, but coach Russell Brock and his team put an exciting product on the field every night. Alcovy was prepared to win every time it took the field, a trait that few teams can boast.

Newton, which finished second in the regular season to the Tigers, earned the No. 3 postseason seed for the region, meaning it, too, would continue on in the postseason.

The Rams were the first softball program I saw play since moving to Georgia. The Rams this season were a young program, and I could see in their sixth game of the season that players were still trying to figure out and define their roles on the team.

Newton was the yin to Alcovy's yang.

The Tigers knew who they were, had clearly defined goals, and had felt the excitement of success.
The Rams were still searching for who they were.

Newton's season could have gone either way after losing four straight to Social Circle, Oglethorpe County and Putnam County, but the Rams rallied, instead finishing just behind Alcovy in the region standings.
Coach Virginia Waters and her staff did an excellent job with their team this season, and the Rams will only continue to improve next year.

The Eastside Eagles completed the postseason trifecta for Newton County, slipping into the postseason as the No. 3 seed from Region 8-AAAA.

The Eagles finished fourth overall in the region with a 6-6 region mark, losing their last four regular season games against Jackson, Heritage, Monticello and Morgan County.

No one expected the Eagles to make any noise in the postseason, but Eastside defeated Lanier in three games in the opening round of its region tournament before downing Lumpkin County 8-0 to claim the region's third seed.

On the road in the first round of the state tournament, the Eagles defeated Redan in straight games before falling to Heritage (Catoosa) in the second round.

The result was surprising to fans, and even to coach Jason Stokes, at times, but Stokes preached to his players to stay loose.

This season was fun not only for our Newton County teams, but for me as a sports writer.

Seeing players succeed, and grow as young people, is one of the reasons I do this job.

Newton County should be proud of its softball teams not only for their wins, but the way they represent our county on and off the field.