Lexington, VA - On Saturday, June 5, 2021, the Covington Cougars girls softball team traveled to Rockbridge County for a first place playoff game against Parry McCluer.

There was a lot on the line for both teams.

First place, homefield advantage, and a Pioneer District Championship.

The Fighting Blues and Cougars went back and forth with leads.

After giving up the lead in the top of the sixth inning, the Cougars went into the bottom of the sixth inning trailing 3-2.

Cougars (1B) Jenna Ruckel (2-for-3) hit the go-ahead and game winning two-run single that put CHS ahead 4-3.

In the top of the seventh inning, the Fighting Blue were able to get the potential tying run to get second base.

CHS (P) Kayla Bartley was able to close the door on the Fighting Blues potential comeback by getting the final out on a fly out to right field.

It marked the first time in school history that the Cougars girls softball team won the Pioneer District Championship.

Bartley had a stellar performance on the mound.  In the win, Bartley pitched seven innings while allowing three runs (one earned) on seven hits, one walk, and 12 strikeouts.  Bartley stuck out out three of the Fighting Blues batters three different times each.

CHS jumped out ahead early in the bottom of the second inning with a solo homerun from Ruckel.  Ruckel on the day had two hits in three at bats along with a game high three (RBI's) runs batted in.

In the win, CHS had a total of seven hits. Ruckel and (C) Christina Terell (2-for-3) each collected multiple hits in the game for CHS.

For Parry McCluer, in the loss (P) Katie Clayton pitched six innings while allowing four earned runs on seven hits and struck out seven.

Looking ahead for CHS, they will host their District Tournament semifinal game against the winner of Narrows/Craig County (played Monday night).  The game is scheduled for 6:00 p.m. at the Jackson River Sports Complex.

Also in the win, CHS secured a Region 1C berth and home game.

These two teams very well could meet in the District Tournament Final.  Parry McCluer is the 2 seed and will play the 3 seed East Montgomery at 5:00 p.m.  

The tournament championship game will be played on Thursday at 6:00 p.m. in Covington.

Photos Courtesy of Gene Ayers