By Ben Robinson
COVINGTON — It’s not often you see Covington hitters chasing pitches out of the strike zone, but that was the case on Wednesday night as the Lady Buccs struck out 12 times and only connected on three hits in a 7-0 loss to Centerville.
“She has all of the tools,” said Covington coach Dean Denlinger of Centerville pitcher Mollie Paulick. “She can throw all of the pitches and when she brings it, she brings it in the sixties.”
It was the complete opposite from a year ago when Covington rocked Centerville for a combined 19 hits and 17 runs in a two-game sweep of the Elks in a double header – eight runs and seven hits coming against Paulick.
But tonight, Paulick shut Covington’s offense down by mixing up pitches at different speeds and locations. It was a constant theme seeing Covington batters swing helplessly at balls above the hands.
“Her rise ball was deadly,” Denlinger said.
Centerville jumped on Covington early by plating three runs on four hits – all with two outs in the top of the first inning. The big hit came from Paulick, who wrapped a two run double in the gap.
“She can hit as well as she can pitch,” praised Denlinger of Paulick.
Centerville then scored another run in the top of the second and Denlinger elected to insert Allison Babylon at pitcher in place of Brooke Gostomsky, who gave up four runs and five hits in two innings of action.
“Brooke’s change-up wasn’t working tonight and they were sitting on her fast ball,” Denlinger explained. “She threw a complete game last night against Newton, so I thought we needed to make a change.”
And Babylon slowed down the potent Centerville lineup, limiting the Elks to just four hits the rest of the way.
“Allison threw pretty well against a really good hitting team,” said Denlinger. “We also played pretty well defensively.”
But Covington wasn’t able to solve the puzzle of hitting the ball against Paulick, which prevented any hopes of getting back into the game.
Centerville scored two insurance runs in the top of the fourth and one final run in the seventh.
For Covington, only two batters were able to record hits as Arianna Richards connected on two long singles and Megan Alexander had an infield single.
“We play teams like this (Centerville) for a reason,” closed Denlinger. “We want to test ourselves against the best because it shows us areas we need to work on. We got a lot out of this game tonight.”
The loss drops Covington’s record to 3-1 overall as it looks to rebound tomorrow night against Tri-Village.