Talladega County Central High School’s softball team will take on Verbena in the Class 1A East Central Regional Tournament at Choccolocco Park in Oxford on Thursday at noon.
The Lady Fighting Tigers enter the competition looking to advance to the state tournament.
The last two times TC Central made regionals, the Lady Fighting Tigers were able to advance to the second day. Head coach Acardia Garrett hopes that this TC Central squad can take the next step.
“We have to get a winning mentality,” Garrett said. “We have to get the mentality that we are going to go take care of business and win.
“We can’t just settle for we are in the regionals and that is good. We have to start looking beyond that. It is good teams there, but I think it is a tournament that we can win. I figure we can go and do some damage if we play the way that we are capable of playing.”
TC Central (11-11) finished second in the 1A, Area 8 Tournament. The Lady Fighting Tigers fell to Faith Christian twice in the competition, including a 14-13 loss in the championship game.
Garrett has a team mixed with experienced and young players. He said he is pleased with how both groups have stepped up and helped TC Central have a successful season.
“My two seniors, Davionna Stockdale and Janyia Wallace, have done their best to offer us leadership this year by what they do and what they say,” Garrett said.
“(Freshman) Faith Johnson has done a great job pitching. (Freshman) Amiya Sillmon has really hit the ball really well.”
Hitting has been the strength for the Lady Fighting Tigers. TC Central has scored eight or more runs in 16 games this season.
“Our one through eight hitters are capable of getting an extra-base hit,” Garrett said. “I would have to say hitting is our strength. It is not as timely as I would like, but we have very capable hitters.”
Verbena (13-10) enters the tournament on a two-game winning streak. The Lady Red Devils defeated Loachapoka and Autaugaville, 17-0 in both games, to win the 1A, Area 5 championship.
“They have played some really close games with some good teams,” Garrett said. “I don’t know how strong their area was, but they have played some real good 2A teams.
“We are going to have to go in there and play our best game to match their best game. I told the girls it is up to them to determine what brand of softball that they are going to play.”
Garrett is confident that if his team plays like he knows it can, the Lady Fighting Tigers will have a good chance of leaving Oxford with a pair of wins.
“If we play the way that we know how, we shouldn’t have any issues getting to Friday,” Garrett said. “Now, if we go out and make unforced errors, throw the ball away and we don’t hit the ball, it will be an early exit from the tournament for us.”