Dark-horse Eagles advance to third straight state tournament

Published 10:25 pm Monday, May 13, 2013

Goshen’s first sports team was a basketball game that competed in 1933. Since that day, the sports teams from Goshen High School have sported an Eagle mascot, but this year’s softball team may incorporate another, a dark horse.

The Lady Eagles rolled through the regional tournament over the weekend, beating three different area champions along the way, en route to another trip to the state tournament in Montgomery.

Goshen was labeled as the “dark horse” team by numerous pickers heading in to the tournament, but used excellent pitching and timely hitting to earn their third straight appearance in the state tourney. Head coach Dee Hughes feels the team earned a little respect with its performance over the last few games.

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“We used the dark horse thing as some motivation over the past week,” said Hughes. “We have been to state the past two years, and still don’t seem to get the respect I think we deserve. The girls were ready to prove that we aren’t done yet.”

Goshen beat Central-Hayneville 11-5 to open the tournament, then beat Horseshoe Bend 2-0 on the back of a no hitter by pitcher Haley Hughes. On Saturday morning, the Lady Eagles upended pre-tourney favorite Prattville Christian 3-2.

Hughes feels her team is peaking at the right time.

“You have to have a team that is mentally prepared,” said Hughes. “There are a lot of good ball teams that are done playing. We try to instill some confidence in them that they are supposed to win those games, not just be in them. They take it to heart, and play hard.”

The state tournament appearance is the third straight for the Goshen Lady Eagles.

Goshen will open the Alabama High School Athletic Association State Tournament on Thursday morning against Walter Wellborn at 9 a.m at Lagoon Park in Montgomery.