Melrose was no match for the Chargers, falling 15-0 in four innings on Monday night in the Region 8-AA semifinal at Chandler Field.
Haywood returns to Covington on Wednesday for the Region 8 championship, having defeated Craigmont 16-0 in five innings. This will be the fifth meeting between the two schools this season. CHS has won the first four. The first pitch is scheduled for 5 p.m.
The winner will host a sectional game against the loser of Chester County and McNairy Central, which play for the Region 7-AA title on Wednesday. The loser will travel to the McNairy-Chester County winner. Sectional winners move on to the state tournament next week in Murfreesboro.
Covington (28-7) opened with the usual starting nine Monday against Melrose, but after an eight-run first inning, interim head coach Chris Messer substituted liberally, getting some valuable varsity playing time for members of the JV squad.
Ty Warmath and Weston Martin walked and reached on a hit by pitch to lead off the first. Austin Baskin doubled them home for a 2-0 lead and the rout was on.
Brock Lomax, Rob Hendren, Carter Davis and Stanton Connell all singled. Warmath and Martin came up a second time, doubling and singling, respectively. By the time the smoke cleared CHS had an 8-0 advantage.
Five more Charger runs were plated in the second. Cameron Tindall led off the inning with a single. Christian Delashmit doubled to score Tindall. Noah Walls replaced him with a two-out double, picking up and RBI. Connell reached on an error. Warmath and Paxton Messer singled, as did Drake Whitmer and Tindall to drive in three more runs.
The Chargers left the bases loaded in the third without scoring and then closed the door in the fourth without benefit of a hit. An error, three walks and a passed ball ended the game.
Melrose sent 14 batters to the plate over four innings. Only one batter put the ball in play, a ground out from third to first. Three batters reached after being hit by pitches and one of them was erased attempting to steal. Ten Wildcats were strikeout victims.
Three Covington hurlers took to the mound. Lomax struck out the side in the first inning and was credited with the win. Drake Whitmer matched him with three Ks in the second. Rob Hendren handled the third and fourth, striking out four of the the nine he faced.
The Lady Chargers advanced to the Region 8-AA final on Wednesday by virtue of a forfeit by Sheffield on Monday night. Covington will face a familiar foe in Bolivar for the region title.
Just like baseball, sectional games will be held Friday. Jackson South Side and Lexington play for the Region 7-AA title Wednesday. The Covington-Bolivar winner will host the loser, and vice versa.