Lady Tigers meet Millry in first-round showdown

Published 5:03 pm Tuesday, May 5, 2015

When awards were given out during McKenzie’s athletic banquet Monday night, one group of athletes was noticeably omitted.

McKenzie head softball coach Matt Coghlan had one simple explanation—his team is still playing.

The Lady Tigers are Gulf Shores-bound for the South Regional Qualifier, and the team—who finished the year with a 15-7 record—is feeling good about their chances against first-round opponent and Area 1 winner Millry.

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“We’re going down there with confidence. We’re certainly not going down there just to take a trip to the beach,” Coghlan said.

“We’re going with the intentions of doing everything we can to come out of there and advance another week.  That’s where we are right now.”

Though the Lady Tigers didn’t face Millry in the course of the regular season, they shared a common opponent in J.U. Blacksher.

“And we played them earlier in the season and were able to beat them twice,” Coghlan said. “I think Millry’s beaten them each time they played them as well, so it should be a really good matchup going into this first game.”

Coghlan added that his players have alleviated a great deal of potential stress that comes with being a first-year head coach.

But the McKenzie community as a whole has also played a part in the team’s success.

“The support is so good that all I have to worry about is the on-the-field stuff,” Coghlan said.

“As far as support from parents and other people in the community and the administration at the school, it’s been outstanding.”

As far as the on-the-field stuff goes, Coghlan is treating Thursday’s playoff game just like any other—minimize mistakes and the rest will take care of itself.

“As long as we make our routine plays on defense and they get hot at the plate and, at some point in the game, get a few runs up, we should be fine,” Coghlan said.

“That’s kind of been the theme all year. Most of the games we’ve lost have been a result of unearned runs and a few errors here and there.  When we’ve played well, we’ve won.

“And we’re not asking them to make spectacular plays.  If we’ll just make routine plays, we’ll be fine.”

The Lady Tigers face off with Millry Thursday at 10 a.m.