The Commercial-News, Danville, IL

April 6, 2014

Comets rally to take down Trojans

BY GREG FLINT sports@dancomnews.com
The Commercial-News

---- — OAKWOOD – The visiting Covington baseball teams scored first, but in the end, Oakwood scored the most as the Comets defeated the Trojans 17-7 in six innings.

Covington got on the board with three consecutive walks and a hit batsman to take a 1-0 lead and force Oakwood coach Bob Sermak to change pitchers.

He brought in Skyler Slade who immediately got the Trojans to ground into a double play, but a run scored. The visitors added a third on a single by Brandon Simmons before Slade got the third out.

Oakwood answered quickly as Cameron Cawley and Landon Turner both hit bloop singles over the shortstop to put runners on first and second.

Kyle Girton walked to fill the bases for Slade. Covington coach Troy Bever found himself in the same situation as Sermak and he, too, changed pitchers, bringing in Gage Hegg.

A passed ball allowed Cawley to score then Slade hit a sacrifice fly to send Turner across the plate. A combination of a walk and a wild pitch allowed Girton to score to tie the game at three-all.

Covington managed only a walk the second inning, but Oakwood sent ten batters to the plate in their half. It led to the Comets scoring five runs to lead 8-3.

The Trojans had a small rally in the third as Peyton Cutrell led off and singled. Halen Noble singled and Simmons walked. A ground out and an error gave Covington two more runs to make it 8-5.

Oakwood looked as if they might give the Trojans an easy inning as they started their half of the third with two quick outs, but a Covington error, a double by Slade and a single by Blake Vinson drove in a pair of runs to allow the Comets to regain their five-run lead at 10-5.

Slade had mixed success in the fourth as he give up a walk, a wild pitch, a hit batsman and a single that allowed Covington to score two runs, but he also struck out the other three Trojans he faced in his final inning of work.

Slade’s going four innings was one of the things that pleased Sermak about the game.

“He gave us some good work pitching out there,” he explained. “We probably pushed him about 20 pitches more than he’d gone so far this year.”

The Comets batted around in their half of the fourth, scoring four more runs to lead 14-7. When the Trojans came up to bat in the fifth, they faced a new pitcher in Austin Vinson.

He struck out the first two batters he faced, walked the next one, but got the fourth to fly out to center.

Covington changed pitchers as well, bringing in freshman Quentin Andrews to pitch. He allowed two runs before finding his groove and retiring the side.

Down 16-7 going into the sixth inning, Covington could get nowhere against the pitching of Vinson. A fly ball and a pop fly were the first two outs. The next batter reached first on an error, but was caught in a rundown to end the inning.

Covington brought in another pitcher for the sixth inning, but a single, a passed ball and an error allowed a run to score that triggered the ten-run rule and ended the game at 17-7.

“I’m glad we got to play this game,” said Bever. “It was our first one of the season and, while we wanted to win, it was more important to see where we’re at. We needed to see what worked and what we need to work on.”

He noted that he has 30 players on his team this year, so he is trying to see who can produce for him.

“We had a rough season last year, so we’re not cutting – we need people who can help us. We have 18 freshmen and only two seniors and three juniors so it’s a learning experience for us.”

Sermak thought his team played a game that was a little sloppy, saying, “We had a couple of errors that were ugly, really ugly, but we’re young and we fixed some things we did wrong earlier in the week.”

He added, “We made some mistakes, missed signals and didn’t execute some steals, but we have five sophomores and sometimes one freshman out there. They have talent, but they are still learning the game.”

He closed by saying, “Our goal is to be playing well by regional time, so we’re just going to work on getting better.”

Greg Flint is a freelance writer/photographer for the Commercial-News. He can be reached at gfphoto@gfphoto-web.com