COVINGTON -- Alcovy's softball team forced Hillgrove to come back at 5 p.m. today for a deciding third game in the second round of the Class AAAAAA playoffs. After the Lady Tigers (28-5-1) lost the first game 4-0, the team regrouped to tie the series with a 3-2 win on Wednesday.
"The girls knew going in that we could score runs," Alcovy head coach Monica Marks said. "We just had to get the clutch hits. Hopefully (today) we'll be a little more comfortable and less anxious at the plate than we were (Wednesday) night."
Hillgrove (27-5) pitcher Abby Evans shut down a normally potent offense, holding Alcovy scoreless on three hits. The Lady Tigers were able to get four hits and scored twice off Taylor DeCelles before Evans came back in the second game. But this time things were different. Alcovy was able to hit against Evans, scoring in the fourth inning to take the 3-2 lead.
"That was huge because of the confidence going into tomorrow and that (Evans) is probably who they're going to throw," Marks said. "We were a little nervous in that first game."
Freshman Kalia Johnson, who also was the winning pitcher, paced the Lady Tigers with three hits, including a double. Getting two hits were Waneshia Morris and Chelsea Murphy.
In the second game, Johnson gave up three hits while striking out and walking two batters.
After losing the first game, the Lady Tigers were hoping to turn the tide as they started the second game with two hits. But once again Hillgrove's defense rose to the challenge, keeping Alcovy from crossing the plate. The Lady Hawks did not have that problem, taking a 2-0 lead in the second inning."They had that one inning where they hit her, but she really settled down after that and got stronger as the game went on," Marks said. Alcovy got its second wind, tying the game. After starting the third inning with a triple, Johnson made it 2-1 on a Murphy hit. Murphy tied the game when Lady Hawks shortstop Ambria Derry dropped Raven Smith's pop fly.The Lady Tigers grabbed the lead when Morris scored on a Johnson single.
"I would hope it would be us," Marks said. "We were getting a little bit of confidence and playing a little bit better towards the end of that game. They played a great game and we played a great game too."
Murphy found herself in an unfamiliar situation in the first game, having the other team hit her pitching. The Lady Hawks had nine hits with three going for extra bases. Each inning when Hillgrove had more than two hits, they were able to produce runs. Murphy had four strikeouts and hit one batter in her time in the circle.
"In the first game, they had those two bloop hits," Marks said. "Things didn't go our way the first game and the kids got down a little bit. Us scoring early in the second game was the key in changing the momentum. Overall, I thought it was a well-played game."