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Lady Rams, Tigers fall in sectionals

HAMPTON - Alcovy and Newton's softball seasons came to an abrupt end in the South Sectionals on Monday at Lovejoy Regional Park.

Alcovy finished 1-2 in its attempt to earn a spot in the Class AAAA state tournament, with all three games going nine innings.

Newton got one step closer to the Class AAAAA state tournament, posting a 2-2 record.

The Lady Tigers seemed to have command in their first game against Harlem after taking a 3-0 lead in the first inning and a 4-1 lead in the fifth before the Lady Bulldogs tied the game in the bottom of the fifth inning.

Both teams scored a run in the eighth inning, and Alcovy's Summer Kusch put Alcovy in the lead for good after scoring on an error in the top of the ninth.

In its next game, Alcovy jumped out to a 2-0 in the third inning against Lee County when Kelly Azar and Dallas Hardin scored on an Amber Melton triple, but Lee County tied the game in the bottom of the sixth.

The Lady Trojans almost won the game in the eighth inning, but Melton stretched to catch a line drive before throwing the ball to Azar to end the inning with a double play.

Unfortunately, Alcovy was unable to keep Lee County off the board in the 3-2 loss send that sent the Lady Tigers into the losers' bracket.

Against Wayne County, Melton gave the Lady Tigers the lead scoring in the third inning. But they did not hold the lead for long as the Lady Yellow Jackets took a 2-1 lead in the top of the fourth inning.

Alcovy tied the game when Jasmine Tolen took advantage of a Wayne County error. Hardin hit a low line drive to the left fielder who knocked the ball out of her glove with her leg.

Just as the Lady Tigers caught a break, an error also cost them the game.

In the bottom of the ninth, Alcovy bobbled the ball while almost seemingly forgetting about the runner the rounding third base.

"A lot of them were stressing trying not to make the out, trying not to make error, trying not to do something wrong. They just have to go out there and have fun and if it happens, it happens," Alcovy coach Casey Bates said.

Meanwhile, Newton lost its first game to Houston County 8-0, but it battled back through two games in the losers' bracket before falling to East Coweta 8-1.

"I could say I could've asked for a win, but I couldn't have asked much more from the girls," Newton coach Jason LaChappelle said. "They did everything that was asked of them and played some good ball."

One of the outstanding players, both offensively and defensively, was junior catcher Chaconna Marks. She paced the Lady Rams with six hits, including two doubles. Defensively against Camden County, retired four runners on the base paths.

"Chaconna is a force to be reckoned with," LaChappelle said. "I wouldn't hesitate to say she's one of the best catchers in the state. You're just not going to steal much on her. She's just not going to let it happen."

Finishing with three hits each were Markea Sheppard and Chermisha Roberts.

Against Houston County, the Lady Rams, behind the arm of pitcher Shea McInerny, kept pace with the Lady Bears until the fifth inning when Kourtny Thomas blasted the ball out of the park for a three-run homer.

After Houston County scored two more runs in the bottom of the sixth, Sarah Ling hit a three-run, walk-off home run.

"Houston is just a tough team. We held Houston for 41/2 innings," LaChappelle said. "There's not much you can do when they have a couple of girls that can crush the ball."

Newton beat Jenkins 10-0 before getting a 4-2 win over the Lady Wildcats.

However, the Lady Rams were unable to get past East Coweta.