DOUNWS-10-10-20 SOFTBALL

Alexander first-year coach Jamie Monroe helped lead the team to the No. 1 seed heading into Monday’s start of the Region 5-6A Tournament.

Jamie Monroe admits there was some pressure in taking over the Alexander softball program.

As a former Cougar player and assistant coach, she knew of the high standard the program had set.

Alexander had won three of the last four region titles under Zach Graham before he departed at the end of last school year for the Oconee County job.

Monroe, who served as Graham’s assistant, was named the new coach.

“Those are big shoes to fill,” Monroe said.

It seems she had the right size as the Cougars head to Monday’s Region 5-6A Tournament as the top seed.

The top six teams from the regular season standings advanced to the tournament. Carrollton is the No. 2 seed.

Alexander will play the winner of Monday’s 4 p.m. contest between East Paulding and Dalton. The game is scheduled to start at 6 p.m.

Carrollton will host the winner of South Paulding against Rome game on Monday with a schedule 6 p.m. start.

The winner of those games will meet Wednesday at 6 p.m. to decide the region title.

“I worked for Zach for 10 years, and I think I was prepared for this,” Monroe said. “I think everything fell into place.”

Although the team has 11 seniors, Monroe faced some challenges because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Like all schools, tryouts were delayed and summer workouts started late under GHSA guidelines. However, the team only lost one region contest in clinching the top seed.

“It is a great accomplishment to be able to host,” Monroe said. “We faced a lot of uncertainty this season. I think the girls did a great job in handling everything.”

Alexander enters the tournament on a four-game winning streak since a 1-0 loss to powerhouse East Coweta. During the four-game winning streak over Douglas County, East Paulding, Rome and Bremen, the Cougars have outscored their opponents 43-5.

Monroe said what happened in the regular season doesn’t matter now in the postseason.

“We are all zero-zero right now,” she said. “I think things will be a lot tougher now. We know we have to bring our A-game the entire tournament.”