By Ben Robinson
COVINGTON — Trailing 3-0 midway through the fourth inning thanks to three errors in the field and timely hitting by Franklin Monroe, the Covington Lady Buccs needed a spark.
And that spark came thanks to two mistakes by Franklin Monroe in the bottom of the fourth inning as Covington loaded the bases and scored twice on passed balls.
“We needed a little spark to get us going and they (Franklin Monroe) gave us that spark,” said Covington coach Mechelle Heitkamp. “Good teams take advantage of mistakes by the other team and we did that today.”
Suddenly, a rather quiet Covington dugout came alive and the momentum carried into the field.
Freshman Kenzie Long shut down Franklin Monroe with a little help from her defense as Justice Warner was able to chase down a ball hit in shallow center field and Ashley Cecil made a running catch in foul territory near the Franklin Monroe dugout.
Warner then tied the score with one swing of the bat in the bottom of the fifth as she lined a shot that landed on top of the batting cage behind the left field fence.
Covington then needed more defensive heroics to prevent Franklin Monroe from reclaiming the momentum.
With one out, Franklin Monroe’s Kennedy Morris connected on a base hit and then Long struck out the next batter on a hit-and-run situation. Junior catcher Addison Metz immediately threw a dart to diving Sarah Hubbard, who somehow managed to snag the ball and tag the runner on the helmet for third out of the inning.
“That was a nice throw by Addison and a great play by Sarah to make the catch and have the presence of mind to be able to make the tag,” Heitkamp said.
The momentum once again carried to the plate for Covington as Hubbard connected on a solo home run – the second of the contest for the Lady Buccs and the sixth home run in the last two games.
“What’s great about that is those home runs came from two different people,” Heitkamp said. “The other night (against Fort Loramie) it was Lexie (Long), Kenzie (Long) and Emma (Dammeyer) who hit then and today it was Justice and Sarah. Having that kind of power in a lineup makes it tough on teams.”
Covington left two runners stranded in the sixth, but it was enough as once again the Lady Bucc Defense came up big.
Franklin Monroe reached on an error and a walk to have runners on first and second with one out when a hard hit ball was hit down the third base line. Senior Lexie Long somehow snagged the ball near the chalk, stepped on the bag for the force out at third and threw hard to first for the double play and the final out of the game.
“How cool is that for Lexie Long to make a double play like that for the final out in her final game on this (the home) field?” asked Heitkamp. “Not too many kids can make that play and she made it took easy.”
It also preserved a 4-3 win over a talented Franklin Monroe team to secure a four-way tie at the top of the CCC standings. Covington shares the league title with Arcanum, National Trail and Newton.
“This was a great way to do it,” said Heitkamp of capping a shared league championship. “It was a great game between two really good teams. Games like this only make you better.”
It was also a fitting way for the six Covington seniors to go out in their final game on the home field.