|MAY 11, 2013 - COVINGTON
An all of Dean Denlinger's success as the head softball coach at Covington, which includes two straight state final four appearances, his teams have never won a league championship until Saturday's 12-1 victory over Bethel concluded a 12-0 record in Cross County Conference play.
"We've done some great things, but this was our first league title since I've been here," said Denlinger. "That just shows how tough our conference is."
And Covington managed to run the table in the conference with several stiff tests along the way, including an eight-inning thriller with Miami East that ended up being 2-1 in the Lady Buccs' favor.
Covington wouldn't have the same trouble on Saturday against Bethel as it jumped out to a 4-0 lead after two innings thanks to a mixture of small ball and power hitting, one being a solo home run by Cassidy Cain.
Bethel responded with a solo home run in the bottom of the fourth, but Covington put the game away with three runs in the fifth and five in the seventh.
"It's nice to win the CCC," said Denlinger. "The girls earned it. They worked hard and deserved that accomplishment."
And it was concluded in impressive fashion as Covington tallied 15 hits on the day, while Casey Yingst and Morgan Arbogast combined for the three hitter.
To go along with Cain's home run, Jessie Shilt tripled for the Lady Buccs while Heidi Snipes doubled twice and Covington received two more doubles by Connor Schaffer and Brittanie Flora. Flora went 3-4, Snipes 2-4 and Cain 2-3.
Also recording hits for Covington were Casey Yingst, Morgan Arbogast, Heidi Cron, Jessica Dammeyer and Brooke Gostomsky.
The win pushes Covington's overall record to 25-0 as it prepares for the upcoming sectional tournament next Thursday against the winner of Botkins and Fairlawn.
"The girls seem as driven as they were in the first game of the season," said Denlinger in regards to his team's mental approach. "We take it one game at a time and that's been our approach all season. We know you have to bring your A game every day or you'll get beat. It's even more important now because you don't get a second chance in the tournament."
Because everyone is 0-0 from here on out.
SCORING BY INNINGS:
Covington …….. 3 .. 1 .. 0 .. 0 .. 3 .. 0 .. 5 - 12 - 15 - 0
Bethel ………….. 0 .. 0 .. 0 .. 1 .. 0 .. 0 .. 0 - 1 - 3 - 1