COVINGTON – The Covington Lady Buccs found themselves in dire straights through three and one half innings, but managed to battle their way back to capture a thrilling 12-9 victory.
It was similar to last night’s come-from-behind victory over Greenville.
“Tonight is bigger than last night,” said Covington coach Dan Cain. “I don’t care if it was Greenville. This was bigger because it was conference. We had two big innings. We did a great job of stringing hits together. Reaghan Lemp and Jayda McClure had some big hits for us.”
The Lady Buccs started out the game struggling as Miami East loaded the bases in the first inning with a pair of walks and an infield hit. The Vikings scored a run on another walk to take a 1-0 lead, but fortunately Covington was able to record the final out to prevent further damage.
Miami East then took a 3-0 lead in the top of the second on a home run by Whitni Enis that landing in the parking lot well behind the home run fence.
Covington put a run on the road in the bottom of the third, but in the top of the fourth Enis connected on her second home run to push Miami East’s lead to 4-1.
“She (Enis) has been struggling a little bit,” said Miami East coach Brian Kadel. “It is just a matter of her being patient and waiting for a pitch she can drive and she did a great job of that tonight.”
Through the first three innings Covington was able to make contact, but it seemed every hit went straight to a Miami East defender. That changed in the bottom of the fourth as Covington pounded the ball at will and scored six runs to take a 7-4 lead.
Miami East is a gritty team too and proved itself in the top of the fifth by scoring four runs to take an 8-7 lead. The big hit came on a three-run home run by Rachael Haak, which at the time gave the Lady Vikings so much momentum that led to a scoreless fifth inning for Covington.
“That is just a senior stepping up,” Kadel said in regards to Haak’s big hit.
Covington has made its mark as a team that doesn’t falter under pressure and held Miami East in check in the top of the sixth and then broke the game open in the bottom of the inning.
The Lady Buccs loaded the bases with three straight hits and took advantage of the opportunity by plating five runs in the inning to take a 12-8 lead. Reaghan Lemp had a RBI single and Jayda McClure drove in a run on a sacrifice fly. Nigella Reck, in another bases-loaded situation, drilled a two-run single to cap the rally.
“She (Nigella Reck) is second in the state in homers and was up the inning before with the bases loaded,” Cain said. “But, it worked out. That was big hit to give us a four-run lead.”
The two innings Covington put up a combined 11 runs made a huge different in the game.
“They did have two big innings,” said Kadel. “They had some hits in those innings, but we helped them out by not making some plays on defense. We have to work on shoring up our defense.”
Miami East kept fighting and scored a run in the top of the seventh and had two runners in scoring position, but Covington was able to get the final out on a blooper to preserve the win.
“Our kids never quit battling,” Kadel said. “If you score nine runs, you think that will be enough.”
The Lady Buccs racked up 15 hits on the day, while Miami East tallied 9 hits. Covington committed a 3 errors two 1 for Miami East.
Meg Rogers started the contest for Covington and went four innings before being replaced by Erika Gostomsky in the circle. Gostomsky picked up the win by pitching the final three innings.
“The walks were killing us,” Cain said. “Erika Gostomsky came in (after the home run) and did a great job. She threw strikes and was able to locate her pitches.”
Covington improves to 9-2 overall and 4-1 in the TRC, while East drops to 4-4 overall and 3-1 in the league.