|MILESTONE WINS FOR HIRSCH AND THE BUCCS...
The Covington Buccaneers captured two wins over Russia in a double-header to give Coach Hirsch his 100th an 101st career wins.
April 11, 2009 - COVINGTON
It was a special Saturday for the Covington Buccaneers and head coach Mitch Hirsch as the Buccs defeated Russia 7-6 and 3-2 in a double-header to give Hirsch his 100th and 101st career wins as a varsity head coach.
Hirsch now has 87 wins at Covington after winning 14 games in his first head coaching stint at New Knoxville.
"It's nice," said Hirsch of reaching the milestone as a head coach. "But really, rebounding from the way we played Thursday (against Minster) was more important."
Covington went into the Minster contest unbeaten, but fell apart in a 12-4 loss.
And Hirsch was curious to see how his team would respond after such a lackluster effort.
"We needed to come in here today and play well," Hirsch continued. "It was good to bounce back and get two wins over a good team like Russia. This was big."
What was also big for Covington was the fact that it needed only three pitchers to get the job done.
Andy Sparks pitched five-and-two-thirds in the first game, while Jake Bitner went six-and-one-third in the second game. Kyle Kanet recorded the save in both contests.
"We really needed that (to have quality pitching)," Hirsch said. "We've used a lot of pitchers in the past few games and we really needed Andy (Sparks) and Jake (Bitner) to give us some quality innings. Both of those kids stepped up and pitched well."
For Sparks, his performance was a huge confidence boost after giving up eight runs in two-thirds of an inning against Minster.
"It says a lot about Andy for him to come back and throw the way he did after having a rough outing just two days ago," praised Hirsch. "He threw really well today and we road him as long as we could. It was good to see him bounce back the way he did."
Sparks battled through some uneasy moments as Russia put three runs on the board in the fourth and tied the score with three more in the sixth.
"Andy got a little tired in the sixth and he was up around 100 pitches," explained Hirsch. "But he gave us four shutout innings and threw pretty well in the fourth (when Russia got the three runs). They just made nice contact on the ball in that inning."
Russia only had four hits in the first contest, which shows how effective Sparks was on the mound.
Meanwhile, the Buccaneer offense scored four runs in the bottom of the second and two runs in the bottom of the fourth, but left several runners on base throughout the contest.
Still, a sacrifice fly by Nate Lavey in the bottom of the sixth allowed Kyle Kanet to score the winning run.
Kanet then closed the show on the mound to put the first game into the win column for Hirsch and the Buccs, 7-6.
"We didn't have any errors in the first game," said Hirsch. "That's good considering we haven't been outside for practice in quiet some time."
But three errors cost the Buccs in the second game of the double-header, although they were able to survive for a 3-2 win.
"We made some mistakes in the field in the second game that cost us," Hirsch said. "Hopefully we can get outside on Monday and work on some of those things and shore up our defense."
The Buccs were able to overcome the errors thanks to the pitching effort of Bitner and the clutch hitting of Andy Sparks, Logan Woloch and Jake Stewart.
Woloch connected on an RBI double and Sparks doubled twice while driving in another run. Stewart went two-for-three in the second contest with an RBI.
Sparks had a huge day at the plate by going a combined four-for-sixth with four doubles in the two games.
"Andy's been swinging the bat really well," Hirsch said. "We also got some big hits out of Logan (Woloch) and (Jake) Stewart."
The two-game sweep over Russia improves Covington's record to 7-1-1.
The Buccs begin Cross County Conference play on Tuesday as they host Miami East.
GAME ONE SCORING:
Russia .............0...0...0...3...0...3...0 - 6 - 4 - 2
Covington ........0...4...0...2...0...1...- - 7 - 8 - 0
GAME TWO SCORING:
Russia .............0...0...1...0...0...0...1 - 2 - 5 - 0
Covington ........0...0...2...0...1...0...- - 3 - 6 - 3