COVINGTON - Despite trailing by three runs entering the final inning, the Alcovy softball team scored four times to overcome Rockdale on Saturday morning at Tiger Field 6-5.
Alcovy's Johnna Bagley was the hero, coming through with a game-winning RBI single to left field with two outs in the bottom of the seventh.
"It felt awesome because I hadn't been hitting all game," Bagley said. "I was so nervous, but this was huge - probably our biggest win this year. To beat Rockdale, who is a really good team, felt pretty good."
The Lady Tigers (9-3 overall) earned their fourth consecutive victory.
Meanwhile, with a 5-2 lead entering the last inning, the Lady Bulldogs (0-6) thought they had finally reached their first win of the young season.
"I think it's just pressure situations right now," Rockdale coach Holly Hamilton said. "We're just not stepping up and we're not finishing the job; our biggest problem is getting them to produce in pressure situations."
On the other hand, it was Alcovy which added that pressure in its final at-bat.
"I got them all in the dugout and told them it's gut-check time," Alcovy coach Casey Bates said. "Do you want to grow up with character down here or up here? Win or lose, just go out there and play with character."
After a single by Caitlin Williams and a walk by Kelly Azar, Dallas Hardin cut the lead to 5-3 with an RBI fielder's choice. With two outs, Melody Belcher slapped an RBI single up the middle, scoring Azar to make it 5-4.
Alcovy's Amber Melton tied the game by singling to right. During the same play, the speedy Belcher scored after a throwing error by outfielder Katlyn Baker.
With a runner on second and two outs, a hitless Bagley then stepped to the plate.
"I went up to her when they called time and said 'Johnna, there's no pressure here,'" Bates said. "'Because if you don't get a hit, we're going to go to another inning and win it then.' But I asked 'Wouldn't you like to win it as a senior?' She said 'Yes, sir,' and got a hit when we needed it and won the game."
After three scoreless innings, Rockdale struck first thanks to a three-run triple by MeQuilla Franklin.
But Alcovy responded with two runs in the bottom of the fourth after an RBI triple by Summer Kusch and an RBI single by Williams.
The Lady Bulldogs added two more runs in the fifth. The first was an RBI triple by Amber Mitchell off Hardin, who had just entered the circle in relief.
"We had a team meeting and worked some kinks out and really addressed a lot of issues that were going on," Hamilton said. "They played better today. We came out on fire, and hopefully we can get some W's here soon as the season progresses."
Hardin earned her fifth win of the season. She lasted 22/3 innings, allowing three hits while striking out four.
Rockdale's Katie Ferrell was dealt the loss. In seven innings, Ferrell allowed six runs (five earned) on eight hits. She recorded five strikeouts compared to just three walks.
Offensively, Melton (two runs) and Williams each had two hits.
Kaitlin Overstreet and Franklin led the Lady Bulldogs with two hits apiece.
Jason Murdock can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.