“Every team in the County Tournament is well-coached,” Harmon said. “As a team and a coaching staff, we don’t underestimate any team that is coming out there. I told my girls we have to be perfect in every aspect of the game, stay focused and pretty much need no mistakes on defense, we’ve got to make contact with the ball and my goal is to be there at the end Saturday night.”
The County Tournament is divided by the large schools and small schools brackets based on their classification with each winner playing in a championship game. Because Sylacauga is under the class 5A classification, they play in the large school bracket. Sylacauga lost both of their games in the 2012 County Tournament, but this season brings a radically different Sylacauga team to the field.
“We went last year,” Harmon said. “Last year was my first year as head coach. It was neck and neck with Childersburg at the beginning of the tournament and then we lost to Childersburg and played against Munford and lost at the very end against Munford. In my mind, that was last year, this is year. I lost seven seniors this past year. I’ve got a new bunch. I’ve got to create a new junior high team, so I’ve got three teams this year coming out of Sylacauga, making steps for filtering programs so they’ll know what I expect at this level every practice, every game.”
Harmon said the mantra for her team this year has been: every play, every second. She’s looking to lay a solid foundation, whether it is the varsity team, the JV team or the junior high team. The bottom line is she wants players who are in the moment the entire time they are on the field. She knows Sylacauga’s first opponent won’t be an easy task.
“We don’t ever look ahead,” she said. “That’s my philosophy. We take it one game at a time. Talladega, in my mind, they’re well-coached. I have a lot of respect for the coach there at Talladega. I’m sure they’re going to be well-prepared and it is down to who wants it and we’re coming for it.”
Meanwhile, another team participating in the 2013 County Tournament that will be playing in the small school bracket is Fayetteville. Fayetteville had an excellent finish to their season, but according to head coach Chris Sherbert they’ve never done particularly well in the County Tournament.
“Last year, we played Munford in the first round and we lost by one run,” Sherbert said. “We turned around and played Childersburg in the second round and they took it to us pretty good. We haven’t had a tremendous amount of success at this present time in the County Tournament, but we’re looking to make that change. We constantly talk to the girls about what’s done last year is in the past. Now, let’s set the goals that we’ve got in front of us and one of the goals is to be able to have a better showing. Last year, it was to not only get to Regionals, but to get out of Regionals and that’s exactly what happened. Now we’ve accomplished that. Let’s move forward. We try not to rest on our laurels. We’re constantly looking to improve. The bottom line is: we lost the last game of the year. Until you win that last game, you can never be satisfied.”
Fayetteville will face TC Central in their first game of the tournament. Sherbert is familiar with TC Central, but at this point in the season he’s trying to focus on his own team.
“TC Central is in our area,” he said. “They’ve been in our area the last couple years and they’ve gotten better each and every year. This early in the year, our number one priority right now is us and to try to stay focused on Fayetteville and how we can improve every pitch, every inning and every game. That’s our focus this year, just try to make sure that when we walk off the field, no matter who we’re playing—whether it be a school of our size or we play a lot of bigger schools as well—that we’re a better softball team.”
Fayetteville is scheduled to play TC Central at 11 a.m. this morning at Childersburg High School.