BA softball ready to follow Covington’s lead into season opener

Published 10:00 am Wednesday, July 27, 2022

Lisa Covington is a name that’s long been associated with softball in Lincoln County.

The former head coach at Brookhaven High from 1994-2010, Covington is on the cusp of her first season as head coach at Brookhaven Academy.

Her team kicks off the 2022-2023 high school athletics season in this area with a home matchup on Friday against Wayne Academy. The varsity game is slated to start at 6:15 p.m. and will be preceded by a junior varsity contest.

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The 2021 softball season at BA was the best in school history. The team went 32-6-1, had four seniors to sign college softball scholarships and ended with a MAIS 5A state championship for longtime coach Becky Flowers.

Covington assisted Flowers last season and was a natural choice to take over the program after Flowers went out as a champ.

In her words, Covington’s been just a parent in the stands since she stepped down from her coaching position at BHS in 2010.

Stepping back onto the field as a head coach has felt as natural as slipping on a glove to play catch as Covington has been putting the team through a summer practice schedule.

“It’s felt really good to be back on the field,” said Covington. “I’ve enjoyed it, I’ve got a good group of girls to work with.”

The team will be young as the sophomore class is the largest group, but there’s plenty of talent on the roster for Covington and her assistant coach, Scott Poole.

Leading that group of 10th-graders is Covington’s daughter, Kensy.

Last season, Kensy Covington earned Daily Leader All-Area honors as she put up a .381 batting average and drove in 42 RBIs as a first baseman.

Covington also had a 2.25 earned runs average last season in 46.2 innings pitched as the no. 2 pitcher on the roster for BA.

In 2022, she’ll transition to her team’s primary pitcher while also batting in the heart of the lineup.

Senior Sasha King will take over at the position of catcher. King missed last season with a back injury and is one of only two seniors on the team along with Reagan Newman and Covington has high praise of the leadership from that duo.

Freshman Morgan Chemin will take over at first base and can also play catcher or in the outfield. Chemin was an All-Area selection last season at Enterprise.

Sophomore Annaston Poole came on strong last season to contribute to the state championship team and will start at second base this season for the Cougars.

The early part of the season will be a chance for Covington to move around players to find the best fit for her team.

Ainslee Jergins is another transfer from Enterprise that will bolster the BA lineup. A junior, the versatile Jergins will play in the middle infield as a shortstop, but can also catch or play in the outfield.

Sophomore Bailey Parks will start the season at third base, but is another piece that Covington can use in other places such as catcher and outfielder.

Newman will play in the outfield along with two more young players that stepped up as contributors last season in freshmen Alayna Daigle and Miriam Wallace.

Covington mentions junior Karci Case, sophomore Emme Barrett and eighth-grader Madelynn Lambert as three experienced bats that will all see time in the lineup this season.

Sophomore pitcher Maggie Rushing is a transfer from Parklane Academy that Covington expects to toss varsity innings. Lambert was the main junior varsity pitcher last season and gained some varsity pitching experience as Covington sees her as another valuable arm for the staff this season. Eight-grader Mia Lee and seventh-grader Kylee McLeod are two young pitchers that Covington expects to develop through the junior varsity season in 2022.

There are 30 players combined between the varsity and junior varsity teams and the expectations is for the varsity to dress out around 16 players on most nights.

“I’d say that probably 24 of our girls play competitive travel-softball when they’re not out here with us,” said Covington. “That’s just an indicator of softball being important to them and their families.”

The Cougars will again compete in a district alongside Columbia Academy, Bowling Green School, Silliman Institute and Oak Forest Academy.

Silliman and BA have built a strong rivalry over the last few years as they faced each other in the state title series last season. Longtime Silliman head coach Trae Weaver has retired and the team also lost standout pitcher Camryn Sibley to graduation.

“I think most of the teams in our district are going to be in a similar situation as us and will be playing a lot of young girls as they try to rebuild,” said Covington.

Poole, a former standout baseball player at Loyd Star and Co-Lin, has been an asset to the program according to Covington.

“Scott does a really great job of teaching the game and breaking things down to help the girls get better,” said Covington.

There’s a definite excitement as the season opener nears. The coaches, players and supporters of the program have acquired the taste for championships and are hungry for more.

“The thing you’ve got to stress to them when they’re mostly younger like our group is that it’s going to take work to get better — if you put in that work every day, you’ll never regret it,” said Covington. “I think we’ve got some young girls that are hungry to step up and fill some important roles on this team and I’m excited to see them get that chance.”