Glenwood softball coach Dusty Perdue is hoping his Lady Gators are peaking at the right time.
Glenwood is 33-10-1 with a three-game winning streak as it opens the AISA Class AAA state tournament Friday against Monroe Academy. But those three straight wins, which came in the region tournament last week, came on the heels of a stretch of five losses in six games.
"We played really well in the regional against two really good teams," Perdue said. "I hope that carries over. We went through about a two-week lull there. The girls can look at the schedule and know that the area has already been decided and we are playing games just to stay in shape."
The eight-team, double-elimination state tournament gets underway at 11 a.m. at Lagoon Park in Montgomery, Ala. The other first-round games include Morgan vs. Bessemer, Autuaga vs. Lee-Scott and Tuscaloosa vs. Pike Liberal.
If the Lady Gators win, they would play the Morgan-Bessemer winner at 5 p.m. If they lose, they would the loser of that matchup at 3 p.m.
Winning the opener and remaining in the winners bracket is important. When Glenwood won its three straight state tournaments (2009-11), the Lady Gators didn't lose a game and needed to win just four games.
A team that loses in the first round would need to win six straight games to win a state title.
"Being able to keep your No. 1 pitcher out there and give her some rest is important," Perdue said. "Now, we do a have a No. 2 pitcher this year unlike we have had in years past. But it is very big to stay in the winners bracket."
Glenwood's No. 1 pitcher is McKenna Gillespie, a sophomore who is 26-8 with a 1.50 ERA and 220 strikeouts.
"She has been exceptional," Perdue said.
Carle Hampton, an eighth-grader, is the No. 2 pitcher.
"She pitches really well," Perdue said. "She throws it almost as hard as McKenna does."
Glenwood is led at the plate by Elizabeth Perdue, who is batting .425 with 12 homers and 56 RBIs.