APRIL 14, 2016 - CASSTOWN
It was ugly - oh, was it ugly.
Covington and Miami East combined to commit 14 errors - seven by each team - in a Cross County Conference contest on Thursday.
Fortunately for Covington, it was able to survive for an 11-7 win.
"It was very ugly," said Covington coach Mitch Hirsch. "There's no reason for us to have seven errors in a game. All seven of their runs were unearned and that's all you need to know about our defense tonight."
After two scoreless innings to start the game, Covington plated five runs in the top of the second - primarily thanks to timely hitting off of Viking miscues.
After Miami East scored a run in the bottom of the inning, Covington pushed its advantage to 6-1 on a run in the top of the fourth.
But Miami East was able to take advantage of two Covington errors in the bottom of the fourth to scored three runs and cut the deficit to 6-4.
Neither team could score in the fifth, but Covington broke the game open with five runs in the top of the sixth - once again becoming the beneficiary of Viking errors.
After holding Miami East in check in the bottom of the sixth, the Buccaneers left a runner stranded in the top of the seven, but were still three outs from victory.
Those three outs didn't come easy as Covington committed two more fielding errors to give Miami East a spark. The Vikings took advantage by plating three runs and had two more runners in scoring position with one out.
Covington was able to record the two outs needed to preserve the win - a win Hirsch is happy to receive, but not one he enjoyed.
"We have to get better defensively," he said. "We're going to come in tomorrow and work on it. Some of our mistakes were due to a lack of concentration and some of it is mental."
The shame of it for Covington is the fact that the defensive performance forced junior hurler Nathan Blei to throw more pitches than he had too.
"Nathan threw a great game," Hirsch said. "Our defense gave them seven extra outs to work with and he had to throw to all of those extra batters. That's an extra two-and-one-third inning he had to pitch. The only reason we had to pull Nathan in the seventh is because of the pitch count."
In spite of the defense behind him, Blei still managed to pick up the win. He struck out 10 and walked just two batters.
Kenny Atkinson came into the game with one out in the seventh and closed out the deal to pick up the save.
"Our pitching has been fine," said Hirsch. "I couldn't ask for much more out of our pitchers."
For Miami East, sophomore Austin Rutledge was tagged with the loss, but he didn't get much help from his defense either.
In a nutshell, it was an ugly evening of baseball for both teams.
SCORE BY INNINGS:
Covington - 0 0 5 1 0 5 0 - 11 - 12 - 7
Miami East - 0 0 1 3 0 0 3 - 7 - 7 - 7