MURFREESBORO - Covington has now won its first two games of the Class AA state tournament after beating Nolensville 12-4 today at Blackman High School.
Last year, when Covington went two and out, is pretty much ancient history.
After the game, Senior Christian Delashmit and junior Carter Davis were standing just a few feet from the spot where the team congregated last year after a season-ending loss to Smith County. The mood a year ago was, obviously, much different than it was today.
"I'm not going to lie," said Davis. "I looked over to those bleachers where we were sitting last year and I said that can't happen again."
"That's exactly what I was thinking," added Delashmit with a smile.
That definitely won't happen again, although Covington still has some work to do to win the program's third state title. Nolensville beat Elizabethton today after losing to Covington and now has to beat the Chargers twice to tomorrow. Covington needs just one win to move into Saturday's winner-take-all title game.
Covington and Nolensville play tomorrow at 2 p.m. at Blackman. The "if necessary" game would follow.
After scoring three times in the top of the first and once in the third, Covington put six on the board in the fourth to go ahead 9-0.
Nolensville avoided being run-ruled with a run in the fourth and three in the fifth, but it never really got back in the game.
Davis led Covington's offense, going 3 for 4 with a pair of doubles. Delashmit drove in three runs on two hits and Brock Lomax doubled, singled and drove in a pair. Ty Warmath had an RBI triple and Austin Baskin, Stanton Connell, Carson Ruffin and Landon Myers each singled.
Delashmit started on the mound and pitched three scoreless innings with four strikeouts. Baskin, Ruffin, Lomax and Noah Walls each pitched in relief as interim head coach Chris Messer, mindful of pitch count limits, worked to have as many pitchers available as possible for the rest of the tournament.
Warmath and Delashmit, Covington's top two pitchers, will both be available if Covington makes it to Friday's title game.
"We talked to our guys about swinging the bats early, maybe getting ahead and saving Christian for Friday if we need him," Messer said. "I'm just glad the kids found a way to win it. That's all that matters. Survive and advance. As soon as the game was over, it was like 'Hey, congratulations, but let's win one more.' They want to get in that (title) game and give ourselves a chance."
As for tomorrow?
"It's a little unreal, but we're going to get there," Delashmit said.
Said Messer: "We're going to go after it and try to win this thing early."