COVINGTON – As long as you have swings at the plate, there is always a chance to win.
Covington proved that on Thursday by scoring 2 runs in its final at bat to defeat Bethel 3-2 in TRC action at Covington High School.
“The kids kept battling the whole game,” Covington baseball coach Andy Johnson said. “And we wouldn’t have been in the game if they didn’t.”
Bethel, who had defeated Covington 13-1 earlier in the year, appeared to take control of the game with two runs in the top of the second inning.
But the Bees were notable to break the game open thanks to the solid pitching of freshman Tyler Jay and some huge defensive plays in the field – one by senior first baseman Jensen Wagoner, who dove to snag a line shot by Elijah Schroeder that prevented at least one more Bethel run.
Still, Bethel held on to the 2-0 lead for the majority of the contest as Luke Gray was phenomenal on the hill.
It wasn’t until the sixth inning when Covington finally broke through with a run as Jensen Wagoner beat the throw to home after Trey Schmelzer hit a line shot to third to make the score 2-1.
Bethel had a golden opportunity to score in the top of the seventh as it had a runner on third with one out. Unfortunately for the Bees, Covington made another huge defensive play as third baseman Jake Dilley fielded a hard hit ball and threw the Bethel runner out at the plate.
The momentum carried Covington to the plate in the bottom of the seventh. The Buccs tied the game on a throwing error by Bethel and then Jacob Tipps put down a perfect bunt to score Tyler Jay from third on a squeeze play to end the game.
For Covington, it was a thrilling victory and Covington coach Andy Johnson gave high praised to his freshman pitcher Tyler Jay, who went the distance against a very good Bethel baseball team.
“Tyler was phenomenal,” Johnson said. “To pitch the whole game and not walk a batter, that just shows you how talented he is. And we were able to get some timely hits tonight.”
For Bethel, it was one that just got away, especially considering how well Luke Gray threw. Gray pitched the first six innings, allowing three hits and striking out seven, before Chris Goodman pitched the seventh.
“We won the first six innings,” said Bethel coach Chase Goulette. “We just didn’t win the seventh inning. Luke (Gray) pitched a great game tonight. It just wasn’t our night in the seventh.”
Because, even though it was behind on the scoreboard entering the seventh, Covington still had swings at the plate.
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