By Ben Robinson
COVINGTON — Covington continued its hot hitting on Thursday in a 10-0 run rule victory over Russia in five innings of play to advance to the sectional final next Tuesday at Tippecanoe Junior High at 5 p.m. against Fort Loramie.
And the big hits came off the bats of freshman Lexi Long and sophomore Brooke Gostomsky, both hitting home runs in the contest with Long’s being a walk-off grand slam in the bottom of the fifth inning.
“This is a focused group of kids right now,” said Covington coach Dean Denlinger of his team. “We’re hitting the ball hard.”
After a scoreless first inning, Covington broke things open in the second as Morgan McReynolds singled and Brooke Gostomsky followed with a two-run home run over the left field fence.
Covington then plated three runs in the third as Haley Adams, Morgan Arbogast and Morgan McReynolds connected on three straight singles. McReynold’s single pushed the first run across the plate and then Gostomsky followed with a double to score McReynolds and Erin Olson, who was entered as the courtesy runner for Arbogast.
After a scoreless fourth inning, Russia threatened in the top of the fourth as it had runners on second and third with one out.
But a hard hit ball to center field was caught in stride by Covington’s Haley Adams, who threw a dart to catcher Arianna Richards to gun down the runner in a very close play at the plate. The play created some controversy as it appeared the runner had slid around the tag.
Still, Covington was able to get out of the jam without damage and then put the game away in the bottom of the fifth.
First, Morgan Arbogast drew a walk and Gostomsky wrapped an RBI double to score Olson, who once again was inserted as a courtesy runner for the Covington pitcher.
Arianna Richards and Ashley Cecil then drew walks to load the bases with two outs, which brought freshman Lexi Long to the plate, who had already connected on a tournament grand slam once before on Tuesday against Troy Christian.
Long made solid contact on the first two pitches, but they flew foul down the third base side of the field. She then watched two balls go by before taking the fifth pitch over the center field fence for a walk-off grand slam, which sent the Covington dugout into a frenzy.
In all, Long and Gostomsky combined to drive in eight of the ten Covington runs as each had four RBI. Long was 2-for-3 with a double and a grand slam, while Gostomsky was 3-for-3 with a double and a two-run home run.
Morgan McReynolds was 2-for-3 with an RBI, while Jessica Dammeyer doubled. Haley Adams and Morgan Arbogast each singled.
Arbogast threw yet another outstanding game as she allowed just two hits and struck out six batters in the complete game.
Covington improves to 21-6 on the season .