|BUCCS SQUANDER CHANCE AT BIG WIN...
Two critical errors in the bottom of the seventh inning resulted in two runs for St. Henry and a 6-5 loss for the Covington Buccaneers.
MAY 3, 2009 - DAYTON
The stage was set for a big win as the Buccs jogged onto the field in the bottom of the seventh inning at Fifth/Third Field in Dayton, Sunday. Covington held a 5-4 lead thanks to a gritty pitching effort by sophomore Jake Stewart and some big hits throughout the contest by Buccaneer hitters and needed just three more outs to begin the celebration.
But a third straight loss for the Buccs suddenly showed on the scoreboard after two Covington errors allowed St. Henry to score the two runs it needed to steal the victory.
"We played well until the last inning," said Covington coach Mitch Hirsch. "We were in a tight game and in some tight situations. The kids lost their focus and made some mental mistakes at a crucial time."
Covington had three errors in the inning and a total of 14 errors in the last three games, including seven errors yesterday in a 14-1 shellacking at the hands of Franklin Monroe.
"We're going back to basics," Hirsch said in regards to the defensive meltdown in the three straight losses. "The kids wanted to practice this morning and we did that. We played better defensively until the last inning, so we are getting better. The kids are willing to do what it takes and that's what's going to turn it around."
Covington jumped on St. Henry with two runs in the opening inning, which allowed Stewart to come to the mound relaxed and confident.
And the sophomore pitched as well as expected as he went six-and-two-third innings before being relieved by Jake Bitner. Stewart only struck out two batters, but allowed just one walk and kept the St. Henry hitters guessing all afternoon.
"Stewart threw really well today," Hirsch praised. "He got into some tight situations, but managed to get himself out of it."
The lone rough inning for Stewart came in the bottom of the fifth as St. Henry connected on some clutch hits for three runs - all coming with two outs. This tied the score at 4-4 as Covington scored a run in the third and another in the top of the fifth.
But the Buccs responded to take a 5-4 lead with a run in the top of the seventh.
"We hit the ball hard all night," Hirsch said. "We knew coming in that St. Henry was a good team, but we also knew we could play with them."
Covington did play with St. Henry, but couldn't overcome the mistakes in the end.
"If we could have pulled this out it would have been a big win, especially after the way we played yesterday (against Franklin Monroe)," said Hirsch. "We should have won this game and we know that. We played well enough for six and a half innings to win. But we didn't finish it in the end."
The loss drops Covington's record to 11-4-2 on the season.
SCORING BY INNINGS:
Covington ...............2...0...1...0...1...0...1 - 5 - 6 - 3
St. Henry .................1...0...0...0...3...0...2 - 6 - 9 - 3