Hardin's no-hitter sparks Lady Tigers

COVINGTON - Alcovy's Dallas Hardin pitched a no-hitter in a 3-1 win over Stockbridge on Thursday, guaranteeing the Lady Tigers no worse than third place in Region 4-AAAA.

"What we have left are Ola and Forest Park," Alcovy head coach Casey Bates said. "This win guaranteed us second or third in the region."

The Lady Tigers can finish as region champions by winning their remaining region games and if Stockbridge can beat Griffin.

The Lady Tigers had everything in their win. They had a solid performance on the mound, strong defense and timely hitting.

In seven innings of work, Hardin had six strikeouts while hitting one batter and walking another.

Defensively, the Lady Tigers committed two errors, including one in the third inning that allowed Stockbridge's only run to score.

"We should've caught it in the air, but it was one of those in-betweeners that you're not sure if you're going to get it or not," Bates said. "It took a bad hop."

Hardin and Amber Melton paced Alcovy at the plate with two hits while Kelsey Sweat chipped in a double and Johnna Bagley added a triple.

"We got hits when we needed them. Dallas kept them at bay on the mound and the defense made the plays behind her. That team came out swinging the bat," Bates said. "This is the first year of the three years I've been here that our outfield (Melody Belcher, Jasmine Tolen and Summer Kusch) can start for anyone in the state. Our outfield is making every play that's hit out there."

The Lady Tigers got on the board first when Melton plated Hardin in the bottom of the first inning.

Stockbridge tied the game in the third before Melton scored on Bagley's three-bagger in the home half of the inning.

"That was big. She's been swinging the bat well lately," Bates said.

The Lady Tigers added another run in the fourth when Williams scored on a wild pitch.

On Wednesday, the Lady Tigers beat Mount Zion 17-0.

Melton hit her third home run of the season while Tolen had an inside-the-park home run. Caitlin Williams got the win pitching a three-inning no hitter.

Manny Fils can be reached at manny.fils@newtoncitizen.com.