Covington baseball coach Evan Willis and Seeger coach Reed Foxworthy are both fond of using small ball to create runs, especially when their teams go up against the better pitchers in the Wabash River Conference.
Each coach saw his team face the ace of the other when the Patriots hosted the Trojans on Monday, but the two pitchers were so dominate that there was little that either could do to manufacture runs.
When the day was over, Covington won the game 2-0 in a game that Willis called “one of the best high school games” he had seen.
In the first inning, each team got a runner on base but neither managed to get past second base as the pitchers got outs before they could move on.
The second saw Covington go down in order while Seeger loaded the bases with one out, but saw their next two batters make outs.
The Patriots threated in third as they got runners on the corners, but a pop-fly double play ended the inning with no runs scored.
Covington had their first real chance to score in the fourth as back-to-back singles put runners on first and third, but the next batter lined out to end the inning.
Seeger tried small ball in the bottom half of the frame as a single and a bunt sacrifice got a runner to second and a hit batsman reached first, but once again, the hit for an RBI would not happen.
The Trojans finally got on the board in the fifth as, with one out, Logan Myers singled, Zach Persinger walked and Bradley Slider beat out a grounder to load the bases.
Willis went with small ball, calling for a suicide squeeze bunt with Keaton Fye at the plate.
The pitch he saw was helmet-high, but Fye managed to get his bat high enough to put down the bunt, which trickled down the first base line maybe two feet fair.
Fye was tagged out when Seeger fielded the ball, but Myers scored to make it 1-0.
Chaos happened in the Seeger half of the fifth as they got a walk with one out, hit a fly ball for the second out and then stole second on a 1-1 count to the next batter.
The stolen base was a success, but apparently, the umpire did not add a strike to his count, having it at still 1-1 with the scoreboard showing the correct 1-2 reading.
The next pitch was a swinging strike that everyone except the umpire thought was strike three to end the inning with both the runner and the Trojan fielders heading to their respective dugouts.
The umpire said it was only strike two, but that the runner was out for leaving the base path, meaning that the batter would still be up at the start of the next inning.
Both coaches spoke up to say they thought it was strike three, but the umpire ruled otherwise and the game continued.
Seeger started off well in the bottom of the sixth, getting a walk and a hit batsman followed by a fly ball to right that turned into a double play, leaving the initial batter on third with two out.
A strikeout followed to end the inning and bring Covington up to the plate in the seventh.
The inning started with two strikeouts, but then Fye walked and Ethan Engle tripled him home to make it a 2-0 game before the next batter struck out to five Khal Stephen, the Seeger pitcher an even dozen for the game.
Logun Freed, the Trojan pitcher, set the Patriots down in order in the seventh to pick up the 2-0 win.
Foxworthy said that holding a team to only one or two runs is usually good enough for a win, but not when Stephen faced Freed.
He added that he was “not pleased by the outcome, but I’m pleased with the effort.”
Willis also liked the effort, but even more so, the execution by his team, saying, “We executed on the base paths and we avoided the kind of inning that would hurt us.”