The St. Paul’s baseball team stayed at the top of the District 6-5A standings with a 4-3 win over rival Covington on Tuesday night.
With the win, St. Paul’s (13-9, 7-3) took a half-game lead over Northshore. The Panthers’ game Tuesday night against Mandeville was rained out and is rescheduled for Wednesday night. Meanwhile, Covington (11-14, 3-7) saw its three-game 6-5A winning streak snapped.
St. Paul’s scored three runs on one hit in the second inning. After catcher Hunter Romero was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning, courtesy runner Robbie Darrah advanced to second on a wild pitch. Rutger Fury was also hit by a pitch, putting runners on first and second with one out.
A grounder by Bradley Yeager was mishandled by Covington second baseman Mark Danko. Danko’s throw to first base was also wide, allowing Darrah to score from second base and advancing Fury to third.
First baseman Jacob Scherer lined an RBI single in left field to score Fury. Beau Neelis reached on a fielder’s choice, scoring Yaeger to make it 3-0 Wolves.
The Lions had their chances to score early but grounded into double plays in the first two innings and also had a runner thrown out at the plate in the second inning. Covington had the bases loaded in the third inning but only managed to score a single run when Christian Wood reached on a fielder’s choice, scoring Garrett Jones.
“Going up against arguably the best player in the district in (St. Paul’s) starting pitcher Blake LoCicero and I thought we still did well,” Covington coach Jeff Dragg said. “Our approach was to be aggressive at the plate, and we were. It just comes down to the small things in baseball and unfortunately we weren’t able to do that tonight.”
St. Paul’s took advantage of another Covington error in the fifth inning. Shortstop Beau Neelis led off the inning with a walk and stole second base. An error by first baseman Christian Wood on William Heurtin’s grounder allowed Neelis to score, extending the Wolves lead to 4-1.
Covington’s best inning came in the fifth, pushing across two runs on three hits. With one out, Jones singled and was retired on a Sean Cothern fielder’s choice.
Tyler Smith walked, and Wood knocked in Cothern with an RBI single. Danko lined an RBI single into left field, scoring Smith, cutting the St. Paul’s lead to 4-3.
LoCicero picked up the complete-game win, allowing three runs on eight hits, striking out three and walking three.
“I definitely didn’t have my best stuff,” the LoCicero pitcher said. “I walked too many people, but give credit to Covington. They were hitting the ball. They are a good hitting team. We played OK defense and were able to pull this one out.
“It’s good to break this losing streak and even better that we are still in first place in the district. (District) 6-5A is a tough district all the way around. I think all the teams have proven that anyone can beat anyone on any given day. Our goal is to just take it one matchup at a time and do whatever we need to do to be successful.”