COVINGTON -- Whoever plays the best defense between Alcovy and Hillgrove will more than likely advance to the third round of the Class AAAAAA softball playoffs in Columbus.
The first game of the doubleheader starts at 4 p.m. today with the second game starting 30 minutes after the first game. The third game, if needed, will be played Wednesday.
Both teams are ranked in the top 10 according to GACA/PrepCountry.com poll. The Lady Tigers (27-4-1) are the No, 3 ranked team while the Lady Hawks are listed in the poll at No. 10.
Hillgrove got the second round of the playoffs sweeping Lowndes 3-2 and 5-3 in the first round while the Lady Tigers run-ruled Westlake 18-2 and 21-1. However, Alcovy head coach Monica Marks knows it's not going to be that easy this time around.
"They're region, 4-AAAAAA, is very competitive. We better be ready to play because they're a very good team. They have a few pitchers, a right-hander (Rachel Jarvis) and a left-hander (Taylor DeCelles), they're very similar to us in that regard," Marks said. "We have to limit our mistakes and we have to hit the ball."
The Lady Tigers have an edge over Hillgrove offensively as Alcovy have won 10 games by double digits compared to five for the Lady Hawks.
Making Hillgrove a tough team to defend against is that their leadoff hitter is a slap hitter, something the Lady Tigers have not seen a lot of this year.
"They have a slapper and they have good hitters, we just have to play well. Luella has a slapper but we haven't seen a lot in our region but we've seen a lot in tournaments. That's going to be one of the keys in the game, keeping their leadoff batter off base. Being that she's a slapper, she going to put pressure on us," Marks said. "We just have to react well to it."
Both teams have a good defense proven by the amount of teams they've been able to shut out this season. Hillgrove has 10 shutout wins, two less than Alcovy's 12 shutout wins.
"They have a good pitcher and play good defense. We're evenly matched as far as defense," Marks said. "The key is going to be hitting. If we play well, I like our team's chances."