COVINGTON — Bradford couldn’t afford to make mistakes against state-ranked Covington on Thursday, but the Lady Railroaders made several as they lost 8-1 in a Cross County Conference softball game.
Bradford made five errors in Thursday’s game, all of which contributed to runs for Covington, who is the fifth-ranked team in the Ohio High School Fastpitch Softball Coaches Association Division IV state poll.
“We didn’t play good at all,” Bradford softball coach Shon Shaffer said. “We played really bad. We played slow, slower than I’ve seen us play, and we’re a lot quicker team than this. We just played really slow. It was almost like we were timid, not intimidated, but just timid. Timid out in the field and timid at the plate. It’s just something we’ve got to get past.”
While Bradford made five errors, Covington committed just two. The Lady Buccs also out-hit the Lady Railroaders eight to two.
The problems started early for Bradford as Covington’s Haley Adams drew a one-out walk in the bottom of the first and took second base on a high pitch to the backstop. Morgan McReynolds then drove in Adams for a 1-0 Covington lead.
Brooke Gostomsky then got an infield single, and Bradford proceeded to make a throwing error on the play that allowed McReynolds to score for a 2-0 Buccaneer lead.
Bradford cut into the deficit in the third inning with Jayde Mead and Erika Hart both drawing walks to start the rally. Brooke Brower then got Bradford’s first hit of the game, a RBI single to make the score 2-1.
Covington didn’t waste much time extending its lead, though. On what should have been the second out of the inning, Morgan Arbogast reached on an error. Two batters later Gostomsky launched a two-run home run over the left field fence for a 4-1 Covington lead.
Bradford had a big scoring opportunity in the top half of the fourth inning with a leadoff single by Mindy Brewer and Michayla Barga reaching base on an error, giving the Railroaders two runners on base with no outs. But the rally was thwarted as Covington caught Ciara Broughman, who was running for Brewer, and Barga off base for outs.
“We had opportunities,” Shaffer said. “It’s just the execution part. These games right here should be 3-2, 2-1, and we were right there.”
Bradford retired Covington in order in the bottom of the fourth but again ran into trouble in the fifth inning. After a leadoff walk to Jessica Dammeyer, Adams got a single to give the Buccs two base runners. Then a throwing error on a steal attempt by Dammeyer allowed her to score for a 5-1 lead.
Two batters later McReynolds got a one-out double to drive in Adams for a 6-1 Covington led. After a hit by Gostomsky put two Lady Buccs runners on base, a throwing error on a Covington bunt allowed both of them to score for an 8-1 lead.
“We’ve got to shore that up,” Shaffer said of his team’s defense. “If we’re going to make a run at it, we’ve got to make sure we shore up our defense. It was probably our worst game as far as booting the ball around, that’s for darn sure.”
With Bradford unable to rally in the seventh inning, the Lady Railroaders lost 8-1.
Brower had a hit and a RBI for Bradford. Brewer had a hit, and Kelly Moore scored a run.
Haley Patty pitched the complete game for the Railroaders and struck out five.
“I thought Haley pitched a really nice game,” Shaffer said. “She kept the ball away from their big hitters.”
Bradford returns to action on Friday with a home game against Miami East.
“I told the girls out there we’ve got to forget about this game because this has to be by far our worst game as far as playing and execution,” Shaffer said. “We’ve got to forget about this because we’ve got Miami East tomorrow. If we dwell on this kind of play, sometimes it gets contagious and we can catch it again. We’ll be better.”