By Rob Kiser
GREENVILLE — The Covington softball team hadn’t forgotten an earlier loss to Newton this season.
And the Buccaneers were finally able to break through in the final two innings for a 14-6 win over the Indians in a Division IV sectional final at Greenville Tuesday.
Covington will play the winner of top seed Williamsburg and St. Bernard in a D-IV district final at 2 p.m. Saturday at Mason.
“The first game, they (Newton) got us by one run,” Covington coach Mechelle Heitkamp said. “We felt like that outcome should have been different, but it wasn’t. We knew tonight was going to be a battle, but we just felt like this was our best path to the district tournament.”
While Covington improved to 17-8, Newton finished the season at 17-7.
“This is a young team,” Newton coach Mark Gibson said. “I felt like we had a really good season. This is just my second year. It takes time. We didn’t expect to be playing Covington in the sectional final, but that is the way it worked out.”
Gibson knew the key in playing against Covington — keep the momentum on the Indians side.
And for five innings, Newtwon was able to do that.
They took a 2-0 lead in the first when Baily Chaney tripled, Kristen Rappold walked and Kacie Tackett had a two-run double.
In the third, Makenna Gostomsky doubled for Covington. While she was out trying to score on a wild pitch, Morgan Studebaker singled and Emma Dammeyer singled her in.
In the fourth, Lexie Long tripled and Kara Schaffer singled her in to tie it at 2-2.
Newton went back in front 3-2 in the home fourth on Rappold’s RBI single, but Justice Warner tripled in fifth and scored on Dammeyer’s single to make it 3-3.
At the same time, Newton catcher Haley Pack had thrown two runners out trying to steal, Covington had two other runners cut down on the bases and Rappold had pitched out of some jams.
“The thing about Covington is they feed off momentum,” Gibson said. “It has been that way since Dean (Denlinger) was coach. When they get the positive energy going, they are tough to stop.”
And it was like a landslide hitting Newton in the sixth and seventh, with Covington scoring 11 runs and lacing 11 of its 22 hits.
“They are a great hitting team, and they hit some balls that found holes,” Gibson said about Covington. “You have to give them credit.”
At the same time, Newton errors on defense just added to the damage.
With the game still tied 3-3 in the sixth, Chelsea Ford had to hit with one out and runner on second — after Ashley Cecil was injured. She drilled a RBI single that just seemed to open the flood gates.
“That happened in one game earlier this year, when Chelsea (Ford) had a big hit,” Heitkamp said.
Justice Warner put down a perfect push bunt to score another run and beat it out.
“Justice (Warner) is a really tough kid to defense because of all the things she can do at the plate,” Heitkamp said.
Dammeyer had a single, Kenzie Long had a RBI single, Sarah Hubbard had a sacrifice fly and Lexie Long had a single to score a run and make it 8-3 after the ball got past the outfielder.
“The kids were really patient up there and that’s what makes for good hitting,” Heitkamp said.
It was more of the same in the seventh as Kenzie Long had a two-run triple, Lexie Long had a double and Morgan Studebaker, Hubbard and Schaffer had RBI singles in a six-run inning to make it 14-4.
Newton had scored one run on an error in the sixth and added two more runs in the seventh when Kylee Fisher slugged a two-run homer.
Kenzie Long went the distance on the mound for Covington, striking out six, walking three and hitting two batters.
Rappold had four strikeouts and two walks.
“I am really proud of this team,” Heitkamp said. “They have battled all year and this was a big win.”
After a loss the Buccs never forgot.
Rob Kiser can be reached at (937) 451-3334.