The format for this week's Class AA state baseball tournament, which includes Covington and seven other teams, is not a standard double-elimination format.
Teams are divided into two four-team brackets. Teams in each half of the bracket play a double-elimination format, which begins today and ends Thursday. The two winners from each bracket then play a winner-takes-all title game Friday at 2 p.m. at Middle Tennessee State University.
Pigeon Forge, which Covington plays today at 4 p.m. at Blackman High School in Murfreesboro, will join Nolensville, Covington and Elizabethton in the bottom half of the bracket.
Here's a quick at the three teams Covington will have to go through to get to Friday's title game.
Pigeon Forge (27-7) is making its sixth appearance at state since 2005. The team last made it here in 2017. Longtime fans of Covington baseball should be familiar with this team. Back in 2006, Pigeon Forge sent Covington to the losers' bracket, but the Chargers came back to beat them 2-1 and 11-1 to make the title game. The Chargers then beat USJ for its second, and most recent, state title.
Nolensville (21-14), making its first-ever appearance at the state tournament, went undefeated in district play and beat Greenbrier 5-3 in a sectional game to get to Murfreesboro.
Elizabethton (26-8) is making its second straight trip to the state tournament. Elizabethton won two games at state last year, playing on the other side of the bracket of Covington. They had to travel to Alcoa for a sectional game this season and upset to them to punch their ticket to state.