The sage Yogi Berra said it best: “It ain’t over till it’s over.”
Rain delayed Friday’s Munford at Covington matchup. A game that looked to be a laugher in the bottom of the first inning turned into an error-filled, three-hour-plus marathon won by Covington 14-13 with an improbable seven-run seventh-inning comeback.
Covington (23-6) looked like world beaters in the first inning, roughing up Cougar starter Blake Reed for five runs on five hits. Ty Warmath walked to open the frame and was joined by Weston Martin on an infield single. Both moved up on a wild pitch and scored on Austin Baskin’s single. Starting pitcher Brock Lomax walked and consecutive singles by Christian Delashmit, Carter Davis and Noah Walls plated three more runs.
The Cougars (8-19) got on the board in the top if the second when designated hitter Cory Fleming singled and Blake Reed walked with two outs. Two passed balls put Fleming at third from where he scored on an A.J. Hamblin single to make the score 5-1.
Munford closed to 5-4 with three runs in the top of the third. Shane Cox and Kade Reed walked to open the inning. Riley Bampfield sacrificed them to second and third. Fleming drilled a two-run single, stole second and scored on Chris Swords single.
The Chargers went up 7-4 with two runs in the bottom of the third. Singles by Delashmit and Davis and Walls loaded the bases. Delashmit scored on a wild pitch and Stanton Connell picked up an RBI with a fielder’s choice ground ball.
Munford tied the game at 7-7 in the 4th with three more runs. Drake Whitmer came on in relief of Lomax. He walked Hamblin and gave up a double to Cox. An error on a Riley Bampfield ground ball let in two runs. A passed ball and a wild pitch moved him to third and Fleming singled him home.
CHS surrendered the lead in the top of the fifth. Swords and Blake Reed singled to open the inning. Hamblin sacrificed to move them to second and third. Pinch hitter Michael Perry made it 8-7 Cougars with a single to right. Rob Hendren replaced Whitmer on the mound. He walked Cox to load the bases but got out of the jam when he snagged a sharp grounder off the bat of Kade Reed, turning it into an inning ending 1-2-3 double play.
An insurance run crossed the plate in the sixth when Bampfield doubled and Swords singled him home for a 9-7 advantage.
Meanwhile, Hamblin, a side-armer, stymied the Charger offense. Covington was held scoreless from the fourth through the sixth. The first two runners reached base in the fourth but were stranded and the tying runs were left on base in the bottom of the sixth.
A four-run top of the seventh for the Cougars appeared to put an end to Covington’s chances. Christian Delashmit gave up a one-out walk to Cox. Kade Reed followed with a single as did Bampfield, who drove in Cox. He then stole second with Reed scoring on the throw to make it 11-7. Fleming walked before Bampfield scored on a passed ball, making the score 12-7, chasing Delashmit for Carson Ruffin. An error plated the 13th run and the Cougars headed to the bottom of the seventh with a comfortable six-run lead.
It takes 21 outs to win a regulation game. Munford was able to get just 20. Delashmit and Connell were hit by pitches, sandwiched around an error on a ball hit by Ruffin to load the bases. Warmath singled to drive in two and cut the lead to 13-9. Martin reached on an error scoring Connell, cutting the margin to 13-10. Baskin reached on an error, again loading the bases. A strikeout brought Hendren to the plate as the Chargers’ final hope. Warmath scored on a passed ball with Martin and Baskin moving up. A high fly ball was missed played in the outfield, allowing two runs in tying the score at 13-13. Hendren went to second on the throw and was replaced by pinch runner Josh McGarity. Carter Davis delivered the knockout with a single down the right field line to score McGarity.
Fleming and Swords each had three hits for Munford and Bampfield had two. Davis had three hits for Covington and Martin, Baskin and Delashmit each had two. Munford plays a district doubleheader at home Monday against Liberty before wrapping up the regular season Wednesday at Houston.
CHS will travel to Munford today and close the regular season at Brighton on Monday at 6:30 p.m.