|COVINGTON BEATS FAIRMONT 2-1...
The Covington Lady Buccs concluded the weekend with an impressive 2-1 victory over Division I power Fairmont.
APRIL 9, 2011 - TIPP CITY
The only thing that would have made the weekend better for the Covington Lady Buccs is if the weather would have held out long enough for them to finish the seventh inning against Fairmont and play the afternoon contest against Russia.
Still, Dean Denlinger saw what he wanted out of his young softball team as the Lady Buccs played competitive softball against two very good teams in the Tipp City Tournament.
"The girls responded well against some stiff competition," said Denlinger. "This is what we wanted, to play the best teams we could play as see how the girls reacted to it. And I think we reacted pretty well."
After beating Cincinnati Clerimont 3-1 on Friday, Covington opened up what was suppose to be a double header with an 11:00am game against Kettering Fairmont - a Division I team that fields seven seniors and is projected to challenge in the GWOC.
And Covington played pitch-for-pitch with the Lady Firebirds, ultimately capturing a 2-1 victory as the game was called after six innings of play.
"I wished we could have finished it," Denlinger said. "We very well could have lost the game, but I wanted to see how our girls would react after they scored in the bottom of the sixth. It's too bad we couldn't have played it out."
Covington scored both of its runs in the top of the third inning on a double by Jessie Shilt and a single by Aubrye Cain, but that was all the scoring the Lady Buccs could manufacture throughout the six-inning affair.
But another strong pitching effort by Chloe Shell and some stellar defensive plays made the two runs hold up as Fairmont could only score a single run in the bottom of the sixth.
And it was a double-play by Jessie Shilt that ended the game with Fairmont having runners at first and second base.
"That was a huge play by Jessie," said Denlinger. "We had a chance to get the second out when we had a runner caught dead to right at first, but didn't make the play. Then we had a bobbled ball and poor throw that would have been the third out. They had two runners on with one out and all the momentum. Jessie made a nice catch at second and made the heads-up play for the double play to get out out of the inning."
The two errors Covington made in the sixth were the first defensive miscues in four games.
"We're starting to come together," Denlinger said. "We're starting to find our identity - play sound defense backing up our pitching and put the ball in play when we are at the plate."
Making contact at the plate is something Covington has done well all season and did once again on Saturday. The Lady Buccs only struck out once on the afternoon.
"Against a team like that, to only strike out once is good," said Denlinger. "We continue to get better. The girls get a lot of reps in practice and it shows."
Shell went the distance for Covington in recording the two-hitter. She struck out seven and didn't surrender any walks.
Jessie Shilt, Aubrye Cain, Cassie Yingst, Connor Schaffer and Brittanie Flora recorded the five Covington hits, with Shilt's hit being a double.
The win boosts Covington's record to 8-0 on the season as a huge week looms ahead with contests against Minster, Miami East, National Trail and Tri-County North.
SCORING BY INNINGS:
Covington ............0..0..2..0..0..0 - 2-5-2
Fairmont ...............0..0..0..0..0..1 - 1 - 2 - 1