The Covington High Lions sent out their eight seniors with a 7-3 come-from-behind victory over crosstown rival Mandeville on April 17 at home in 6-5A action.
Trailing 3-1 entering the fifth inning, the Lions, paced by four walks and a hit batter, sent 12 batters to plate, exploding for six runs to regain the lead and put the game away.
Covington benefited from the Mandeville wildness, making the most of the situation, picking up just two hits, an RBI double by Jacob Schoultz and a run-producing single by Jared Heck, who went 2-for-3.
Jacob Gottschalk walked twice in the frame and scored a run. Trent Rainey picked up an RBI, drawing a walk on a 3-2 offering with the bases juiced.
Covington senior second baseman Devin Pounds delivered a 2 for 3 performance at the plate, with a walk, and two runs scored for the Lions. Pounds also played solid defense, turning a timely 4-6-3 double play, to close out the sixth inning. The Lions turned two double plays on the night.
“It was a picture-perfect win,” Pounds said. “Putting in all the hard work, the blood, sweat and tears, it was a great way to go out in our last home game. As a team, we wanted to leave it all out on the field. Things came our way. We just went out and had fun.”
Covington senior starter Joel King was the winning pitcher, tossing a complete-game seven-hitter. King posted two strikeouts and walked two at one point retiring seven straight Mandeville hitters. King turned in a gutsy outing, taking care of business, throwing 99 pitches.
“My teammates helped me out with those six runs in the fifth inning,” he said. “I love playing baseball, and it’s easy to pitch when your teammates give you a cushion like that late in the game. It was something special to win on Senior Night.”
Lions head coach Jeff Dragg said collectively his seniors are a good group of young men. “Joel (King) has been a battler all season long and has been a tough-luck pitcher this year,” he said. “King is a tough competitor, who gives you his all every time out.”
Mandeville pushed across an unearned run in their second at-bat off King. With one out, Stephen Graham and Ben Simoneaux delivered back-to-back singles with Graham scoring on an error.
Covington tied it up with a run in the third. Pounds doubled with one out and tallied on an error, making it 1-1.
Mandeville regained control, tallying twice in the top of the fifth. Ethan Delery, who went 2 for 3, doubled to right, leading off the inning, reaching home on a miscue. Brandon Benefield put down a sacrifice bunt, reaching on an error, and stole second. Benefield scored when King made an errant throw to first trying to get Desmond Sams, putting Mandeville up 3-1.
Delery, the Mandeville junior third baseman, said it was a tough loss.
“We didn’t play well defensively with too many errors and all the walks made the difference,” he said. “We have to put the loss behind us and focus on the playoffs.”
Mandeville first-year skipper Rickey Noland was disappointed with his team’s performance.
“When you walk eight batters and hit one along with so many errors (6), it makes it tough to win,” he said. “You can’t take anything away from Covington. They did a great job competing.”