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Lady Chargers defeat Ripley, qualify for region

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Covington pitcher Hannah Clifton can't quite put the tag on Ripley's Tori Dean during District 15-AA tournament action Friday afternoon at Ripley High School. Covington lost this game 9-3, but rebounded to win their next two and earn a berth in the region

The task at hand for the Lady Chargers Tuesday afternoon at Ripley in the District 15-AA tournament was pretty simple. 

Beat Liberty and earn at least a second place finish in the district and a spot in next week's region semifinals. 

Lose to Liberty and the season was over. 

Covington, the top seed in the tournament after winning the regular season title, chose the first option. 

Maddie Lane pitched a six-inning no-hitter with 10 strikeouts and hit a three-run, inside-the-park home run the bottom of the sixth to finish off a 10-0 win. 

Covington (19-15) beat second-seeded Ripley 6-1 Tuesday night to force a game Wednesday (after press time) for the tournament title, but both teams will play in the region Monday. 

The loser travels to Memphis and the winner will host a game. The winners of those games qualify  for a sectional game May 16. 

“It's a big relief,” first-year Covington coach Matthew Shearon said about qualifying for the region. “That's what we talked about all year. We've haven't been out of the district in a while.”

Treasuary Poindexter sparked Covington's offense against Liberty, going 2 for 3 with a double, two runs and a steal and Hannah Clifton and Ali McDivitt (one RBI) were each 2 for 3. 

Covington broke open a close game against Ripley with four runs in the fourth. 

Clifton went the distance to earn the win. She struck out one, walked one and scattered four hits. 

Raygen Escue and Clifton each had a pair of hits for Covington and Carly Cousar singled in two runs. 

Anna Adkinson singled home a run and Neely Glenn and McDivitt each had one hit. 

Covington and Ripley will be heavy favorites in the region semifinals Monday. A win there means each team can earn a state tournament berth with a victory next Friday. 

“Right now we know there's no pressure on us,” Shearon said. “We just have to go out and play ball.”

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