Lady Tigers named to all-region

COVINGTON - Accolades for the Alcovy softball team continued as six Lady Tigers were named to the 2008 4-AAAA All-Region team.

Making it to the team were Dallas Hardin (pitcher), Andrea Melton (catcher), Kelly Azar (second baseman), Amber Melton (third baseman), Melody Belcher (outfielder) and Johnna Bagley (utility player).

Besides being named to the all-region team, Hardin, a sophomore, was also voted the top pitcher in the region.

"She was voted the No. 1 pitcher in the region when the all-region team was selected," Alcovy coach Casey Bates said. "She had an ERA of .095 which is outstanding for a high school pitcher. We look for Dallas to set many records that will not be broken at Alcovy for years to come."

Aside from making her presence felt in the circle, Hardin also helped herself at the plate with a .375 batting average as the lead-off hitter.

"She is as solid as a lead-off hitter as you can get. She does what it takes to get on base and is a very smart and aggressive base runner," Bates said. "She can slap the ball in the gaps when needed."

Of the girls on the all-region team for Alcovy, only two, Azar and Bagley, were seniors.

"Johnna, just as Kelly, will leave a long-lasting legacy here at Alcovy. We will miss them greatly and they will be hard to replace," Bates said.

Bagley mostly played short stop while also spending time on third base while Azar, who was their second baseman this year, has been used in different positions in her three years at Alcovy.

"She (Azar) stepped up and played solid defense for us wherever we put her," Bates added.

Probably one of the best off-season moves Bates did was to put Belcher to the outfield to help a weakened slot. Not only did she help out the outfield with Jasmine Tolen, the switch hitter also did her part with a bat in her hand.

"She probably had the toughest spot in the lineup. She had three responsibilities depending on the situation," Bates said.

At the No. 2 spot in the lineup, if the lead-off hitter got to first base Belcher was suppose to move her over.

If the lead-off did not make, she was to get on base and if the lead-off reached second Belcher was to bat right-handed and bring the runner in.

The Melton sisters proved to be lethal for Alcovy's opponents.

In three years, Amber more than doubled her batting average and has solidify the third-base line.

She finished her junior year leading the team with a .450 batting average.

"She has grown over the past three years into a force to reckon with at the plate. Teams are now walking her due to not wanting to throw to her," Bates said.

"She is as solid as they come in the field and will more than likely start at short stop for us next year."

Behind the plate, Andrea, a freshman, caught the entire season keeping base runners at bay with a strong arm and the ability to block the ball.

"She stepped up and acted like a veteran behind the plate and we look for her to do another outstanding job in her next three years," Bates said.

Manny Fils can be reached at manny.fils


SideBar: 2008 4-AAAA All-Region Team

· Pitcher: Dallas Hardin (Alcovy), Allie Raines (Ola), Tedra Alford (Griffin)

· First base: Summer Jones (Stockbridge), Chelsea Meyers (Ola)

· Second base: Kayla Brooks (Dutchtown), Kelly Azar (Alcovy)

· Shortstop: Page Nowacki (Ola), Christine Frederick (Ola)

· Third base: Amber Melton (Alcovy), Jordan Miller (Ola)

· Catcher: Hunter Williamson (Ola), Marlee Morales (Dutchtown), Andrea Melton (Alcovy)

· Outfield: Melody Belcher (Alcovy), Madison Case (Ola), Sam Maycock (Ola), Alexis Griffin (Mt. Zion)

· DP: Angel Crawford (Griffin)

· Utility: Abria Trice (Dutchtown), Alyssa Milliken (Stockbridge), Savannah Cook (Ola), Johnna Bagley (Alcovy)