This time last year Covington took two games off Brighton in the regular season. They also lost to them in the opening game of the district tournament.
“Last year definitely left a bitter taste in our mouth,” Brighton Head Coach Ryan Wood said about last year’s losses to their rival. “We got our tails beat in every facet of the game, three games by Covington last year.”
However, it’s a new year, and, with a solid pitching performance from Bennett Stutts, the Cardinals fought back to pull off a 5-4 win in eight innings on Tuesday.
Brighton moved to 14-6 in the season with only one loss in the district.
It was a battle from the first pitch as Covington senior Holden Warmath opened with a deep single and rounded to third off a pitching error. He snuck a run in as Chris Smith grounded out to shortstop Andrew Davis.
Ben Lavelle responded as Case Maxwell hit a deep single to center fielder Braden Gover and galloped to home plate to even the score. Maxwell added another run stealing home.
Their rhythm kept going with a Kaiden Ingram score off fielder’s choice in the fourth.
Covington still showed fight when Bo Dunavant and Parker Davis advanced on base and Warmath’s clutch double tied the game. A sacrifice fly from Smith gave them a one-run lead.
“Covington puts pressure on you, so they make you press. They make you try to play above your level because that’s how they are. They’re competitors,” Wood said about Covington’s competitive nature.
M.J. Parimore, who finished on the mound, came in clutch towards the end when he punched a triple down to left field, assisting Brodie Billings to even the score.
Neither team not scoring a run in the seventh, so they went extra innings.
After a single from Bethel signee Lane Butler, Parimore went three-and-out and ended the game with a sacrifice fly to let Stutts take the game-winning run.
“If you do your job, the next guy will do his job, and our kids are starting to buy into that, competing for each other, and that’s bigger than anythings” said Wood. “Bigger than any win, loss, personal stats. Man, I can hang my hat on that fight as long as we continue that. If you compete, that’s all I ask.”
Brighton will play their final district series against Ripley next Monday and Tuesday. Covington will go up against Munford.
After each game, the Lady Cougars typically reward a player a chain to symbolize their impact on the game.
In their 10-6 win over Brighton, Munford Head Coach Raygan Huffman decided to give the chain to the entire team for being in sync and working together.
“Our team got it because not one person won that game. All of them won that game working together tonight, and that’s a big thing is working together and teamwork for us.” Huffman said.
They came back from a 5-1 deficit by scattering eight runs in the fifth inning.
With two outs, first baseman Brie Howard overthrew a ball to third, giving Munford center fielder Chloe Lowry the first run of the game. Afterwards, Howard homered to right field as a response to her mistake.
Fast-forward to the third, Howard, Adin Shelton, and Aliya Garcia scored off a walk and wild pitches from Munford ace Lexi Billings, who gave up another score the next inning off an error.
Refusing to fall through, the Lady Cougars became effective in the fifth when Jackie Friedrich singled and brought in Emily Turner. That began an eight-run inning from Munford where Friedrich, Katelyn McCain, Chloe Lowry, Carrington Rose, Jordan Wilson, Sadie Billings and Joci Wilkins scored.
“We didn’t play our game,” Huffman stated. “We were playing their game until about the fifth inning. When we got that energy up, we started rolling the bats and we started playing our game. It was a different story.”
Lexi Billings, who finished with six strikeouts, calmed her nerves, and finished the job, allowing only one run after their scoring frenzy.
“When Lexi stopped throwing around it and throwing to them, we were working together,” Huffman said about her ace pitcher.
Lexi went 2-for-2 at home plate. Lowry and Turner drove in two RBIs each.
Howard finished with two hits and Molly Oswalt had two as well.