COVINGTON - Sometimes in post-season play, you need a little luck. On Tuesday, Alcovy's softball team got just enough to live to play another day.
Thomas County Central's normally sure-handed shortstop Hannah Maddox misplayed a ground ball in the top of the sixth inning, which allowed pinch-runner Samantha Cronan to score the go-ahead run in the Lady Tigers' 5-4 victory in Game 2 of a best-of-three first-round playoff series.
Earlier in the day, Thomas County, the No. 3 seed from Region 1-AAAA, won Game 1 7-1.
Jorday Hilty had reached on an infield single to open the sixth and was sacrificed to second before the speedier Cronan took her place at second. Following a pop up, Dallas Hardin hit a routine grounder to shortstop, but Maddox came up too quickly and the ball scooted through her legs.
"She's 100 percent solid," Thomas County Central coach Robyn Gauger said of Maddox, who made several good plays throughout the doubleheader. "She just didn't see (the ball) in."
Thomas County Central (21-11) had tied the game at 4-4 in the fifth. Maddox led off with a walk and Morgan Rich followed with a double that could've been a home run at most any other park in the state - Alcovy's fences are 220 feet from home plate.
"We play on a 205-foot fence, we're going home," Tigers coach Casey Bates said.
The Yellow Jackets had their chances to grab the lead later in the inning, but Alcovy executed a rare double play. Rich, after moving to third on a wild pitch, was too far off third on Erin Vick's ground ball and was thrown out at the plate, and Vick was nabbed at second trying to get into scoring position.
Alcovy (19-12) jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the first against Vick. Hardin singled to start the game, Chelsea Murphy reached on an error and Kelsey Sweat singled to load the bases.
After a fielder's choice forced Hardin out at the plate, Jasmine Tolen ripped a three-run triple to put the Lady Tigers up 3-0. Lakeivah Sorrells followed with a run-scoring single to make it 4-0.
Thomas County answered in the bottom of the first, getting consecutive RBI hits from Rich, Vick and Layne McDermond to cut the lead to 4-3.
"We just came up and had a couple key hits," Gauger said.
Alcovy's playoff opener was one the Lady Tigers would like to forget. Thomas County Central sent 10 batters to the plate in the second inning and scored all the runs it would need off Hardin and a sloppy Tigers defense.
McDermond reached on an infield single to start the frame and moved up to second on a wild pitch. After Ashley Holland reached on a fielder's choice and Jenna Reeves struck out, third baseman Morgan Mobley threw Chelsea Weaver's ground ball up the right field line, allowing McDermond and Holland to score and give the Yellow Jackets a 2-0 lead. Later, Katie Corbin added a sacrifice fly and Vick singled to make it a 4-0 game.
In the third, Holland walked and later scored on an error by catcher Marie Peck. Hardin's wild pitch chased home Reeves for a 6-0 cushion.
"You can't have 14 free base runners at this level," Bates said. "We made a lot of mistakes."
Hardin allowed eight hits and walked seven, but only two of the runs she surrendered were earned in a 141-pitch, six-inning effort in the opener. Vick scattered nine hits, but only allowed one earned run on Sweat's run-scoring single in the third.
The teams will meet in a deciding Game 3 at 2 p.m. today.
Kurt Aschermann Jr. can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.