MANDEVILLE — Covington rallied from a 3-0 deficit to take a 5-3 victory over Mandeville in a District 6-5A game at Mandeville on Wednesday.
The Lions’ win coupled with St. Paul’s 9-2 victory over Fontainebleau gives the Lions and Wolves a share of the district title. It is the first district title for Covington since head coach Jeff Dragg was a player on the 1997 squad.
Covington (24-6, 9-3) kept their hopes alive for a home playoff game in the first round. The Lions came into the game seeded 16th.
“This game was nerve-racking” said Dragg. “We got to this position last year, and we didn’t do it. This year we got a second chance when St. Paul’s lost Monday night. I couldn’t be prouder of this team.”
John Schaeffer (8-3) pitched a complete game, allowing three runs on five hits, while striking out six and walking three. Schaeffer also had a hit and 2 RBIs.
Mandeville (11-18, 3-9) played without four senior starters on Senior Night. When asked for comment, coach Rowland Skinner declined.
The game was tied at 3-3 in the top of the seventh inning. Tyler Thompson led off with a single and was bunted over to second base. After another out, Austin Daix flied to left field, but the ball was dropped allowing the go-ahead run to score. Tyler Smith singled in Daix for an insurance run.
The Skippers threatened in the bottom of the seventh, getting their first two batters on, but Schaeffer shut the door.
“He (Schaeffer) didn’t come out as sharp” said Dragg. “But he finished really strong.”
The Skippers jumped out to a 3-0 lead with single runs in the first three innings. Justin Nussbaum led off the bottom of the first with a walk. Following a wild pitch and a ground out, Harrison Jambon got the RBI on a groundout to shortstop for a 1-0 lead.
An RBI single by Troy Lamarque drove home Chris Howie to give the Skippers a 2-0 lead.
Mandeville increased the lead to 3-0 with an unearned run. Hunter Roig drew a two-out walk and then stole second. Brendan Hitsman reached on Tyler Thompson’s error that scored Roig.
The Lions broke through in the fourth with two runs to cut the deficit to 3-2. Bryce Laird reached on a two-out error by Nussbaum. Zach Thompson followed with Covington’s first hit. Schaeffer and Todd Glass then deliverd RBI singles.
“I don’t know what it was in the beginning” said Schaeffer. “But as soon as we got those first two runs, I knew what I had to do.”
The Skippers loaded the bases with no outs in the bottom of the fifth inning. But Roig hit a soft grounder to Schaeffer who flipped it home and got Roig at first for the double play. Hitsman lined out to right field to end the threat.
Covington tied the game at 3-3 in the top of the sixth. Laird started things when he reached on a one-out single.
Thompson hit a pop up that the wind got hold of and fell and bounced away from Bryce Butera to put runners on first and second.
After a wild pitch, Schaffer hit an RBI groundout to get Laird home.