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Lady Tigers set to open regional play Friday

Published 3:24pm Tuesday, May 7, 2013

The McKenzie School softball team will soon be taking an early trip to the beach a little before summer break.

Following the team’s first place finish in the area softball tournament, the Lady Tigers have earned a spot in the regional tournament in Gulf Shores.

The winner of the Gulf Shores tournament will then move on to the state tournament next week in Montgomery.

After defeating J.U. Blacksher twice last month in McKenzie and clinching the No. 1 spot, head coach Ezell Powell said that his game plan hasn’t changed very much from what he has taught all year long.  But the fact that the regular season has ended provides a distinct challenge of its own.

“We continue to work on some other things to help ourselves get better — hitting, fielding correctly, communicating when we’re playing defense with one another and just doing all of the little things that’s necessary to be a good softball team,” Powell said. “Right now, we don’t get a chance to get out and play games every day, so we get out and scrimmage with one another in some type of way the best we can to try to keep our skills sharp and ready for the competition when we get down there.”

And the Lady Tigers will face stiff competition from seven other teams, including familiar rival J.U. Blacksher.

McKenzie’s first opponent will be McIntosh, followed by the winner of the Pleasant Home and Brantley matchup.

Because of the nature of high-stakes tournament play, Powell said that it’s difficult to worry about any one team in particular.  Instead, because all eight teams have worked just as hard to get to this point, Powell treats every opponent as a major threat.

“Hopefully, you worry about all of them because when you get down to that point, you have the best in each area,” Powell said. “It’s a situation in which you have to play in order to advance.  If you don’t play well at any given time, anyone can beat you.  But if you play well consistently, you have a chance to continue on and have the opportunity to go next week and play in the state tournament in Montgomery.”

McKenzie (15-12) and McIntosh will face off at 8 a.m. Friday.

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