|MONDAY, APRIL 8, 2013 - MINSTER
The Covington Lady Buccs have rolled through the first seven games, outscoring their opponents 52-4 - opponents that have included some talented teams like Versailles, New Bremen and a double-header sweep of a previously unbeaten Division I team in Centerville.
But through all seven wins, all the runs and the five shutouts, Covington hasn't faced a situation where its character was tested through intense adversity.
That situation finally materialized on Monday as Covington found itself down 3-0 after two innings against Minster thanks to uncharacteristic mistakes. Covington wasn't playing well as three errors resulted in two of the three runs being unearned.
Covington responded with a run in the bottom of the fourth on an RBI single by Haley Adams that scored Arianna Richards, the courtesy runner for Morgan Arbogast, who had led off the inning with a single.
But Covington couldn't take advantage of a golden opportunity in the bottom of the fifth as it had bases loaded with no outs and left all three runners stranded.
Covington then left two more runners on in the sixth and was down to its final out in the bottom of the seventh trailing 3-1.
Jessie Shilt gave Covington hope with a double and Casey Yingst drew a walk to put runners at first and second as freshman Erin Olson came in to courtesy run for Yingst.
Connor Schaffer then came to the plate and found herself behind in the count 0-2, but stayed alive until driving a double in the gap that scored both Shilt and Olson to tie the score at 3-3 and send the game into extra innings.
Both team threatened in the ninth and tenth, but each time the defenses made the plays to get out of the inning.
After shutting Minster down in order in the top of the eleventh, Jessie Shilt once again gave Covington a lift with a two-out double.
This put Heidi Snipes in position to be a hero and the senior came through, smashing a walk-off double off the fence in left-center to give Covington a come-from-behind 4-3 win.
"We didn't play our best today, but we found a way to win," said Covington coach Dean Denlinger. "And the good thing about it is the entire game our girls were up in the dugout. Their mentality never changed, even when things weren't going our way. We showed a lot of character."
Covington also hit the ball hard all game long, recording 17 hits to six hits for Minster.
"We hit the ball had all game long," Denlinger said. "Even when it resulted in an out, we hit the ball hard."
And it was the seniors who provided the leadership as Jessie Shilt went 4-6, Connor Schaffer went 3-5, Casey Yingst went 3-4 and Heidi Snipes went 3-6.
All four also came up big in crunch time as Shilt got Covington started in the seventh and the eleventh with doubles, Schaffer connected on the game-tying two-run double in the bottom of the seventh and Snipes hit the game-winning walk-off double.
Plus, Casey Yingst went all eleven innings on the mound, striking out 20 batters and surrendering just one walk.
"Casey dug in out there," said Denlinger. "The longer the game went the better she threw. She was missing some of her spots early, but later in the game she was on. Even the spots we called out of the zone, she was hitting them late in the game."
Overall, it wasn't a work of art for Covington as it had three errors and left 12 runners stranded in the contest.
But it was a game where its character was revealed, which helps this team find its identity.
SCORING BY INNINGS:
Minster - 1 .. 2 .. 0 .. 0 .. 0 .. 0 .. 0 .. 0 .. 0 .. 0 .. 0 - 3 - 6 - 1
Covington - 0 .. 0 .. 0 .. 1 .. 0 .. 0 .. 2 .. 0 .. 0 .. 0 .. 1 - 4 - 17 - 3