MARCH 26, 2016 - COVINGTON
COVINGTON - For a team coming off a 27-2 season a year ago and having to replace four talented players lost to graduation, Covington coach Dean Denlinger couldn't have asked for a better start to the season than what his team accomplished on Saturday in a double-header sweep of Versailles.
"Good start to the season," said Denlinger after his team defeated Versailles in two games 12-2 and 5-2. "I thought our bench was alive and the girls were into it. We hit the ball well and did some nice things defensively. We made some mistakes too, but It was a good start all the way around."
Covington waisted little time setting the tone in the opening contest of the day by plating five runs in the bottom of the first inning.
The Lady Buccs then scored a run in the second, two in the third, three in the fourth and one final run in the fifth to cap a 12-2 run-rule victory.
"Pretty solid outing in the first game," said Denlinger. "Brooke (Gostomsky) threw well and we hit the ball hard. We were aggressive on the base paths and forced some errors where we were able to put runs on the board."
Gostomsky went the distance in the opening contest, She struck out six, walked none and allowed just one earned run.
The big hitters for Covington in the first game were Lexie Long, Arianna Richards, Brooke Gostomsky and Justice Warner. Long doubled, tripled and drove in three runs, while Warner went 2-for-3 with a double, two stolen bases and three RBI. Richards and Gostomsky both went 2-for-3 with two RBI.
The second game of the afternoon was much tighter as Versailles made some unbelievable defensive plays to prevent Covington from breaking the game open.
"That's a very athletic team," praised Denlinger of Versailles. "Their shortstop and center fielder are good. They can cover a lot of ground."
Covington scored a run in the bottom of the first, but Versailles responded with a run in the second and another in the top of the fourth to take a 2-1 lead.
The Lady Buccs, who were hitting the ball hard throughout the first three innings, made some mental mistake on the base paths that cost them some potential runs.
"We ran ourselves out of a couple of innings there in the second game," Denlinger explained.
Still, Covington was finally able to break through with a run in the bottom of the fourth to tie the score at 2-2.
And after shutting Versailles down in order in the top of the fifth, Covington broke the game open with three runs in the bottom half of the inning to claim a 5-2 lead.
Meanwhile, junior hurler Allison Babylon was in control in the circle as she allowed just two hits and one earned run in her five innings of work.
Gostomsky came into the game in the sixth and closed out the victory by holding Versailles scoreless over the final two innings.
Sarah Hubbard came up big at the plate for Covington by going 2-for-2 with one RBI and a stolen base. Justice Warner connected on a two-run single and Kara Schaffer went 2-for-3 with an RBI. Also, Megan Alexander went 3-for-3 and Ashley Cecil drove in a run.
In all, it was a good start for Covington, but Denlinger still found things his team needs to work on.
"Don't get me wrong, we did some great things today," Denlinger said. "But we pride ourselves on defense and we had four errors today. We are not accustom to having errors, so that's something we need to work on."
Still, the effort his girls gave was at a level Denlinger expects of a Covington team.
"I do like the effort," he said. "We had girls diving for balls, being aggressive at the plate and running the bases hard. We'll correct the other things, so this was a good day."
Covington (2-0) looks forward to a big challenge on Monday as Centerville comes to town.
GAME ONE SCORE BY INNINGS:
Versailles - 0 .. 0 .. 0 .. 0 .. 2 - 2 - 6 - 1
Covington - 5 .. 1 .. 2 .. 3 ..1 - 12 - 11 - 2
GAME TWO SCORE BY INNINGS:
Versailles - 0 .. 1 .. 0 .. 1 .. 0 .. 0 .. 0 - 2 - 2 - 1
Covington - 1 .. 0 .. 0 .. 1 .. 3 .. 0 .. X - 5 - 9 - 2