Botkins Trojans junior Reid Manger (4) prepares a throw to first base Monday in a Division IV high school baseball sectional semifinal against the Covington Buccaneers on Volunteer Field at Botkins Community Park. (Staff photo/Brad Frank)
BOTKINS — The Botkins Trojans fell short in a marathon tournament game Monday.
The Trojans were defeated 13-11 by the Covington Buccaneers in a Division IV high school baseball sectional semifinal at Botkins Community Park.
Knotted at 9-9 after seven innings, both teams scored twice in the eighth and went scoreless for three straight innings.
Covington took the lead for good in the top of the 12th inning.
In Reid Manger’s fifth inning of relief, the Buccaneers’ cleanup hitter Justin Williams reached on an error. Sam Sherman singled home Williams, and he later scored for Covington’s second run of the frame.
Manger singled in the bottom half of the 12th, bringing the tying run to the plate with two outs but Botkins’ effort stopped there.
“It was a roller coaster game,” Botkins varsity coach Phil Groves said. “It seemed like as soon as we did something good, we did something bad.”
The Trojans helped Covington score with several errors Monday.
The Buccs had an early five-run lead because of some errors and another one in the seventh nearly cost Botkins the game in regulation.
With the game tied at 8-8 entering the seventh, Botkins allowed a go-ahead run via another error. The Trojans recovered in the bottom of the frame.
With zero outs, Nick Okuley singled, stole second and scored on a Roger Miller RBI single.
Botkins eventually had runners on second and third with two outs but couldn’t put the winning run across, sending the game to extra innings.
“Errors certainly hurt us,” Groves said. “But I’m proud of the guys. They fought the whole game.”
The Trojans led 2-0 after the first inning but things began to trend in the wrong direction for them.
During the Trojans’ at-bat in the bottom of the first, starting second baseman and leadoff hitter Alex Roberts collided with Covington’s first baseman who was fielding a ground ball.
Roberts fell to the ground, needed to be helped off the field after sustaining a leg injury and did not return the rest of the game.
Christian Hoskins doubled after Roberts’ at-bat. Two batters later, Okuley singled to bring home Hoskins and reached third on an overthrow to home plate. Okuley scored on a wild pitch to give Botkins a 2-0 lead.
Covington answered with three runs in the second, as Botkins helped the Buccs with two errors in the inning. Covington notched another run in the third and three more in the fourth to push its margin to 7-2.
Botkins’ starting pitcher Miller was removed after the fourth in place of Mitch Goubeaux.
The Trojans finally turned it around with a monster fourth inning, during which they scored seven runs to retake the lead, 9-7.
In the inning, Jacob Place singled, Erik Greve walked, Manger was hit-by-pitch, Hoskins walked, Zach Greve walked, Okuley reached on an error and Miller had an RBI groundout.
Goubeaux lasted three innings before Manger entered in the eighth to pitch the rest of the game.
The Trojans have two regular season games left to play this season, both in the Shelby County Athletic League.
They will face the Fairlawn Jets today and visit the Houston Wildcats on Friday.
Groves said after the game Roberts will likely not be able to play in the Trojans’ two remaining regular season games.
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