That didn’t take long.
When Sarah Fekete Bailey left Catholic after eight seasons to be the new softball coach at Alcoa for the 2019 season, she knew there were some pieces in place at her new stop to possibly make a run.
“They had a very successful season (in 2018) under Coach (Mike) Brown,” said Bailey, a former Lady Vol standout. “They just were on the wrong side of Gibbs.”
Well, the run this season is still going, and it’s headed for the state tournament — Alcoa’s first appearance in 13 years and the first for Bailey as a coach.
The Lady Tornadoes won, 14-11, on Friday at Sullivan East to win a Class AA state sectional and secure their place in next week’s Spring Fling in Murfreesboro.
“Sullivan East has a great offense, and we knew that going in,” said Bailey. “They have a couple kids — one hit over 21 home runs this season. We knew that we were going to have to come out and score runs to win.”
Audrey Roach heard that loud and clear.
She blasted a two-run home run for Alcoa (25-9-1) in the first inning to build a 2-0 lead. She finished 3-for-3. Italia Kyle went 2-for-5 with a solo home run and three RBIs.
Alcoa’s lead grew to 12-6 by the bottom of the fifth. Sullivan East trimmed it to 12-11 in the bottom of the fifth thanks to a grand slam.
Alcoa clinched it in the seventh when Kassidy Moore hit a two-run single with the bases loaded, and the Lady Ts and pitcher Kaylee Lovingood fended off Sullivan East’s top hitters in the bottom of the seventh.
“They just clawed and fought their way to victory,” Bailey. “I could not be more proud of them.
“Our kids came out and competed. I’d almost rather watch that ball game than a game where a pitcher is controlling every single moment of the game.
“This was exciting. It was back and forth, back and forth.”
IN OTHER SECTIONALS
Class A: Unaka knocked off Tellico Plains, 10-8, thwarting a gigantic comeback by Tellico Plains. Unaka led 8-2 but surrendered six runs in the top of the sixth to Tellico Plains.
Cosby fell to Sale Creek, 10-0, in five innings.
Class AA: Sweetwater will welcome Sequatchie County at 5:30 p.m. Saturday in a state sectional. Marion County eliminated Sequoyah, 7-6, in a state sectional Friday.
Class AAA: Halls will play host to Morristown East at 7 p.m. Saturday in a Class AAA state sectional.