CASSTOWN – If they charged admission for regular season softball games, Thursday’s matchup between host Miami East and visiting Covington would have been worth every penny.
Both teams entered the contest unbeaten in league play and with a combined one loss overall, which was on Covington’s 7-1 record as Miami East was undefeated at 8-0.
And after seven innings of some exciting softball by both teams Covington handed the Vikings their first loss of the season, 7-3.
“Meg (Rogers) pitched a really good game,” Covington coach Dan Cain said. “We played good defense behind her, did a good job moving runners and had timely hitting. This was a huge win for us.”
Rogers is a gamer, a competitor who seems to come up big when times are tough. This was evident when Miami East loaded the bases with no outs in the fourth inning.
Granted, Miami East plated two runs in the innings, but the damage could have been much worse. Rogers, however, forced a groundout, a strikeout and a second groundout to get out of the inning.
This kept Covington in control 5-2 as the Lady Buccs scored three runs in the third and two in the fourth. Covington could have done more damage in those innings, but had two runners thrown out at home plate and suffered a double-play by the Miami East defense.
“We have been working on our defense,” Miami East coach Brian Kadel said. “We had a couple mistakes that hurt us. When you are facing a good pitcher and a good team that plays good defense, that’s what happens.”
Miami East had two errors in the contest, both resulting into runs for Covington.
“That’s the thing,” Kadel said. “We make some great plays on defense and then we have plays we don’t make.”
Covington plated another run in the top of the fifth on an RBI single by Nigella Reck. Unfortunately for the Lady Buccs, Miami East turned yet another double play as Maddie Maxson caught a hard hit ball in the outfield and threw to Braven Mills at home plate to gun down a Covington runner.
“I thought we were aggressive on the base paths,” Cain said. “We stayed aggressive even though we had a couple kids thrown out.”
After a scoreless sixth inning by both teams, it was apparent that the final inning would decide the outcome between these two good softball teams.
And it did as Covington increased is cushion with two more runs in the top of the inning as Karyanne Turner singled and scored when Mara Newhouse’s fly ball fell and Reaghan Lemp added a RBI single.
Leading 7-2 with three outs left, there was no comfort for Covington due to how potent Miami East is with bats in their hands.
“Miami East is a good team,” Cain said. “I never felt comfortable until the final out.”
And the Lady Vikings gave Cain reason to worry as Jacqueline Kadel, Kyleigh Kirby and Howell had singles to produce a run and gain momentum.
Fortunately for the Lady Buccs, Rogers and the defense behind her were able to record the final outs needed to preserve the 7-3 win.
For Covington, Mara Newhouse had three hits, while Nigella Reck had two hits and two RBIs and Karyanne Turner had two hits. Meg Rogers pitched a seven-hitter, striking out 10 and walking three.
For Miami East, Reagan Howell was 2-for-4 with two RBIs for East. Jacqueline Kadel was 2-for-3 and Kyleigh Kirby was 2-for-4. Kyleigh Kirby allowed 10 hits, while striking out three and walking four.
At the end of the day it was an exciting game between two quality softball teams.
And the good thing is, they will face each other again on May 5th in Covington.
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