COVINGTON - If Tuesday afternoon was any indication, the Alcovy softball team is going to be awfully difficult to beat this postseason.
Kayla Johnson allowed one hit in a dominant performance and the host and top seed Tigers defeated Rockdale 8-0 in five innings in the Region 2-AAAAAA Tournament.
Johnson, just a sophomore, allowed a single to Kelsey Stewart with one out in the second inning, then retired the final 11 batters she faced, including striking out six consecutive batters at one point. India Davis led off the game by drawing a four-pitch walk, but that was the last good thing to happen to the fourth-seeded Bulldogs. Davis was later caught stealing, and Sidney Driver’s inning-ending fly out and Stewart’s opposite field single were the only balls to leave the infield against Alcovy’s southpaw hurler.
The Tigers sent nine batters to the plate in the bottom of the first and scored four times with two outs against Driver, a freshman who took the loss for Rockdale.
Johnson singled and later scored on a passed ball by catcher Brianna Patton, and Raven Smith, Morgan Beshears and Holley Murphy all drew walks and scored, the last of which came on a bunt single by Jordyn White.
Alcovy doubled its lead in the second against reliever Miasia Mayer. Aubree Thacker started the inning with an infield single off Driver’s glove at third and Chelsie Nolley walked. Waneshia Morris hit a soft line drive that Davis couldn’t come up with at shortstop, and hoping to get the force out at second, Davis threw the ball into right-center field, chasing home Thacker and Nolley to put the Tigers up 6-0.
Smith added a sacrifice fly and a run-scoring single by Murphy made it 8-0.
Johnson, who developed an illness and left her last start against Heritage after five shut out innings October 2, looked perfectly healthy Tuesday, needing just 63 pitches to complete the abbreviated shut out.
Second-seeded Newton nipped Luella 5-3 in the other first round game to set up a meeting with Alcovy Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. Freshman Maddie Cronic allowed one earned run, while stranding the bases loaded in the sixth and runners at second and third in the seventh to preserve a complete game, three-hitter.
Newton was clinging to a one-run lead, but scored a pair of runs with two outs in the fifth that proved to be the difference.
After a strikeout and a line out, the Rams got to work. Ciara Bryan ripped her second opposite field triple of the night, then Cronic singled up the middle for a 4-2 lead. Bri Weaver made it 5-2 with a double.
No. 3 seed Luella got a run back in the sixth on an RBI-single by Laurel Wynn and Cronic’s fielding error helped load the bases with one out. Pinch-hitter Kameisha Washington hit into a fielder’s choice that forced Shelby Godfrey at the plate and Cronic got Lauren Dean to pop out to center field to end the threat.
In the seventh, Courtney Garrison and Godfrey drew walks and the pair scooted to third and second on Cronic’s wild pitch. Wynn worked the count full, then fouled off a pitch before grounding out harmlessly to shortstop to end the game.
Newton grabbed a 3-0 lead in the first. Bryan got the first of her triples to start the inning and scored on Cronic’s ground out for the first run of the night. Weaver and Ashley Weesner had consecutive singles, the last of which made it 2-0 and pinch-runner Markayla Price scored on a throwing error by Luella shortstop Sierra Cornog.
Luella got to within 3-2 in the fourth, thanks in large part to four Newton errors and Wynn’s run-scoring single.
Rockdale and Luella will play Wednesday at 4:30 p.m. with the winner staying alive and the loser clinching the region’s No. 4 seed for the state playoffs.