MARCH 28, 2016 - NEW KNOXVILL
Covington coach Mitch Hirsch likes what he sees from his baseball team through the first two games of the season.
That's because the Buccaneers put together several innings of solid baseball in a 4-1 loss at St. Henry on Saturday and then followed with a stellar team effort in an 8-0 win over New Knoxville on Monday.
"We didn't get the win on Saturday, but other than one inning where we had two errors that cost us three runs, we played pretty well defensively," Hirsch explained. "Nathan (Blei) threw well enough to win and we made contact on the ball, but not enough to score runs. Tonight against New Knoxville, we hit the hard all night."
Covington also made adjustments at the plate after striking out seven times in the first three innings on Monday.
"That was a little concerning early, but when we did hit the ball we hit it hard," said Hirsch. "In the last four innings we did a better job of staying back and not chasing. We cut down on the strikeouts and hit the ball well."
James Grilliot led off the contest with a double and Coleman Ryan followed by drawing a walk. Nathan Blei singled to score Grilliot and Ryan scored from third on a wild pitch to give the Buccaneers a 2-0 lead.
Noah Thomas then led off the second inning with a single and moved to second on an error. Shortly thereafter Thomas scored on a squeeze bunt by Coleman Ryan to push the Buccaneer lead to 3-0.
After a scoreless third inning, Covington put three more runs on the board in the top of the fourth.
Thomas and Grilliot both walked to lead off the inning and then moved to second an third on a double steal.
Ryan walked to load the bases and Nathan Blei connected on a two-run single - scoring Thomas and Grilliot.
Coleman Ryan then capped the inning by scoring on a wild pitch - his second of the game.
Leading 6-0, Covington wasn't done as it put another run on the scoreboard in the fifth on an RBI single by Grilliot that scored Jordan Maschino and then Jared Williams drove in Nathan Blei for the final run in the top of the sixth.
From there, junior hurler Christian Nelson capped a stellar performance on the hill by closing out the side in the bottom of the seventh to preserve his one-hit, shutout win.
Nelson went the distance and struck out seven batters along the way. He walked just two batters and gave up the lone hit in the bottom of the first inning on a blooper over second base.
"Christian did a good job of changing speeds and hitting his locations," Hirsch praised. "Hopefully this gives him even more confidence. He threw well in a scrimmage against Fort Loramie and then to come back tonight and throw a complete game, one-hitter - that's big."
In all, Covington connected for 11 hits on the night and didn't commit a single error.
Nathan Blei was perfect at the plate in four at bats with a double and three RBI, while Jarred Williams was 2-for-3 with a double and an RBI and James Grilliot was 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI.
The win moves Covington to 1-1 on the young season. The Buccs host Northwestern tomorrow in the home opener.
SCORE BY INNINGS:
Covington - 2 1 0 3 1 1 0 - 8 - 11 - 0
New Knoxville - 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 - 0 - 1 - 2