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Covington baseball finishes district undefeated

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Ripley versus Covington. No matter the game, it’s intense. 

Last week it was baseball with a regular season District 15-AA championship and the top tournament seed on the line for CHS. 

The Chargers (25-10 overall, 10-0 district) prevailed in dramatic fashion in both games Monday and Tuesday to finish off a perfect district mark. 

Covington plays the Jackson North Side-Liberty winner Friday at 4 p.m. at USA Stadium in the district tournament semifinals. A win there would put them in a winners' bracket game on Saturday at 12:30 p.m. The title game will be Tuesday at 5 p.m. 

On Monday in Ripley, CHS could not get untracked as a team at the plate in a 3-1 win.  

Bradyn McClain got Covington on the board, leading off the first with a solo homer over the wall in right center. Ethan Whitley scored Covington's run when Brad Walker reached on an error. 

McClain struck again in the top of the second with a moon shot in right center that bounced off a light standard in adjacent Tiny Knee Stadium. CHS was up 3-0 and would not score again.

The Tigers (15-4, 6-4 Dist. 15 AA) plated a lone run in the bottom of the third with an RBI double off the bat of Bo Simpson. From there the pitchers took over. 

Jake Durham improved to 6-0, scattering seven hits over seven innings. He walked one and struck out 13. 

Sam Williams (4-1) lost his first decision of the year. He went the distance, giving up three hits and two earned runs. He walked one and struck out 10.

Tuesday’s finale in Covington was Senior Night for 11 Chargers.

John Michael Spoon (5-0), pitching against his former team, struggled with control in the first, allowing a pair of singles but no runs. From there he settled down to turn in a six-inning performance in which he allowed eight hits and three earned runs. He struck out eight and walked one. 

Covington scored twice in the second. Walker walked and Spoon singled. Senior centerfielder Hunter Francis, with only 25 at bats in the season, made the most of his chances at the plate, driving in two with a double down the left field line. Whitley and McClain singled in the third. Whitley then stole third and scored on an error to put Covington ahead 3-0.

With the scored tied 3-3, he Chargers regained the lead 6-3 in the bottom of the on RBI's by Francis and Watson. 

Matt Folk came on in relief in the seventh and earned his third save. With the score 6-5, the tying run at third and the lead run at the plate, Folk put out the fire with a strikeout and groundout. 

In other games:

• McClain (2-2) evened his record and took no prisoners on Friday with a two-hit, 14-strikeout, 9-0 shutout over Liberty. He also burned Liberty at the plate with a 2-for-4, two-RBI performance.

Covington blew the game open with six runs in the fifth. Walker and McClain each drove in two runs and Dalton Carlton closed the scoring with a two-run homer. 

• The regular season/district home finale Saturday with Liberty was over in less than an hour. CHS pounded the Crusaders 16-1 in a three-inning game to complete a sweep of the district. John Hayden Bowers (3-2) got the win, giving up a run on one hit. He walked two and struck out six.

Spoon led the offense with three RBIs. 

• A Saturday afternoon makeup game at Munford was a nail biter won by Covington 8-7. 

The Chargers jumped on top with five runs in the second. Three walks fueled the outburst. Jalen Jones and Spoon each had RBI doubles and Whitley an RBI single.

In the fourth, Max Snyder got an RBI with a ground out. Caleb Craig’s single plated Vines and another run came in on a passed ball.

Covington tacked on two runs in the 5th to go up 7-3 behind a Cook double and an error. 

Munford cut the lead to 7-5 with two runs in the bottom of the frame. Kyle Kelley reached on a single and came home on Kyle Hindman’s two-run home run. Two more Cougar runs in the 6th tied the game at 7. Craig and Taylor Ellison reached and Hindman delivered again with a double down the 3rd base line.

CHS scored the eventual winning run in the seventh when Walker doubled to bring in Carlton.

Gunner Vines was hit by a pitch in the bottom of the 7th with one out, but Spoon snared a Max Snyder line drive and doubled up Vines to end the game.

Spoon (6-0) got the win, pitching one inning in relief. Fulcher took the loss.

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