By Rob Kiser
PLEASANT HILL — The real victory was getting out on the diamond Friday.
Then, Newton got a big CCC win over Covington 4-2.
It was the Indians’ second game of the year and the Buccaneers’ first.
“I give Mark (Gibson) a lot of credit for coming out here and getting this field ready to play,” Covington coach Phil Smith said. “He was out here at 9 a.m. to get the field ready. It is tough playing a game like this in the opener, but Newton is a really tough team. I am really proud of our girls to battle the way they did.”
Gibson had seen enough of playing in the gym.
“Covington and us had both been in the gym for probably two weeks,” Gibson, whose team got a win Monday, said. “We came out here at 9 a.m. and shop vac’d the water off the field and put quick dry down.
“This was a credit to our girls because we didn’t know if we were going to play. It doesn’t matter if we play early or late (in the season). When we play Covington, we know what kind of game it is going to be.”
Covington got on the board first.
Morgan Studebaker had a first-inning single off Kristen Rappold and scored on Sarah Hubbard’s triple.
Newton tied it in the second when Kylee Fisher doubled and scored on Brooke Deeter’s double.
“Those girls have been swinging in the gym all winter,” Gibson said. “They are capable of that. We have kids all the way through the order who can swing the bat.”
Newton took advantage of a Covington error in the third to score three runs.
Brooke Chaney singled and was on second when Rappold hit a one-hopper to the mound. The throw to first got away, with Chaney hustling home. Marissa Deeter, running for Rappold, went from first to third on Mallory Dunlevy’s single. She then scored on Kacie Tackett’s squeeze bunt, and Fisher’s fielder’s choice scored Dunlevy to make it 4-1.
“We did a good job of playing small ball,” Gibson said. “When Marissa (Deeter) went from first to third on the single, that set the tone. Then she scored on Kacie’s (Tackett) squeeze bunt.”
Kenzie Long relieved Emma Dammeyer in the fourth and pitched three scoreless innings, allowing one hit. The two combined on a five-hitter, striking out two and walking one.
And while Covington had a number of opportunities, they could only add one one more run.
While the Buccs outhit the Indians 10-5, they left 10 on to Newton’s two.
“We just never got that key hit,” Smith said.
Rappold allowed just one run through five innings, and Erin Norman pitched the final two innings.
They had eight strikeouts, two walks and one hit batter.
Hubbard had a two-walk in the fifth and Long followed with a double, but Rappold got a strikeout to end the threat.
That was after Covington had the bases loaded with one out following a Long double in the fourth and didn’t score. Rappold got a strikeout and pop out to herself to get out of the jam.
After the fifth, she moved to first base.
“We wanted Kristen (Rappold) to go as long as she could,” Gibson said. “I told her when you are tired, let me know. I need you to do that. It is being a good teammate. We had Erin (Norman) ready because I know she was getting tired.”
Covington got a leadoff double from Kristin Barnes in the sixth, but she was thrown out at the plate on a strike from shortstop Baily Chaney.
Layklyn Kemp singled and went to third on Noelle Gast’s single. When Gast drew a throw to first, Kemp hustled home to make it 4-2.
But Norman struck out the next two batters to end the threat and only allowed an infield single in the seventh to finish things off.
Both teams will play two games today — Covington at Celina opening with Bellefontaine, and Newton playing Troy and Wayne at Troy.
“We might have been the only ones in Miami County to play today,” Gibson said.
Which made it a win for everyone.
Rob Kiser can be reached at (937) 451-3334.