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Posted: August 7, 2012 9:31 p.m.

Newton reaches semi’s

William Brawley/

The home crowd has been an encouraging, boisterous mass of Newton County faithful at the 2012 Dixie Boys World Series.

For three games, the fans of the Newton County Dixie Boys All-Stars have helped lift their team to new heights as it reached the semifinals of the 2012 Dixie Boys World Series today at 10 a.m. at City Pond Park.

However, during the opener of the World Series, Newton County seemed a little nervous and overwhelmed with the outcry of support and the wealth of talent awaiting them at field one of City Pond Park.

Texas took advantage Newton County's miscues and inability to hit the ball, to the tune of a 4-1 win, placing the home team in the elimination bracket after just one day (plus another for rain delay) of World Series' play.

But once Newton County settled its nerves, it staked its claim as one of the best squads in the 12-team tournament.

Newton County dispatched Mississippi 7-5 on Monday, and then easily handled Virginia 15-0 and South Carolina 9-3 on Tuesday to earn a spot as one of two one-loss teams in the tournament semifinals.

Along with Newton County's pitching, which has been solid throughout each of its four games, its success can also be attributed to two players, who have been the spark its lineup has needed.

Marquell Stevens was limited in the opener against Texas, but made his presence known in the win over Mississippi. With his team trailing 5-1, Stephens led off the bottom of the fourth inning with Newton County's first home run in the 2012 World Series.

The hit not only sparked a four-run inning, but also the rest of the game and the next two.

Stevens had two hits against Virginia, including a two-run double, and again sparked his team against South Carolina.

Newton put up a seven-run third inning, after Stevens led it off with a double. The left fielder added another double and an RBI in the same inning.

"Marquell has taken the town by storm," Newton coach Denny Hewell said. "He's a great kid and a raw talent."

Stevens hasn't been the only big bat to come to life in Newton County's lineup, as two of Nick Womack's three hits Tuesday went over the fence. The shortstop drove in six runs on the day.

"He has been a consistent slugger," Hewell said. "He's been someone I can count on at the plate with two outs in the bottom of the ninth."

Womack also came up big on the mound against Mississippi.

Womack allowed three hits and zero runs in five innings of relief, while striking out three, including two in the final inning.

Womack has been just one of several strong pitchers for Newton County, including Gray Ritchey against South Carolina and Blake Shope against Virginia and Texas.

"We've pitched out of a lot of jams at times when our defense hadn't done what it should," Hewell said.
Here's a look at Newton's first four games:

Texas 4, Newton 1

Chris Booth took the mound for Texas in the Newton County team's debut in the Dixie Boys World Series, much to the home team's chagrin as it fell 4-1.
Booth pitched 6 1/3 innings, giving up one run, allowing three hits, walking just two and striking out seven Newton County batters.

Booth was able to both blow some pitches by the Newton County batters, along with keeping them off balance with a strong curve ball.

Booth opened the fifth inning by reaching on an error by the shortstop, moved to second on stole base and third on a balk. Dustin Hendrix' single brought him home. Hendrix moved to second on an error by the shortstop.

Andre Ling reached on a fielder's choice and Peyton Stewart went to third base on an error by the third baseman.

Carson Seaga brought two Texas runners home with a single, scoring Hendrix and King. Stewart scored on an error before Kurt Wilson, who started the inning with a strikeout, ended it with Texas up 4-1.

Newton couldn't overcome the deficit, managing just three this in the game.

Newton 7, Mississippi 5

Stevens led off the bottom of the fourth inning with Newton County's first home run in the 2012 Dixie Boys World Series to make it a three-run game with Mississippi ahead 5-2.

Jake Jones follows the home run with a walk and Shope became the third consecutive Newton County base runner with an RBI double past Mississippi's third baseman.


After Mississippi's relief pitcher came into the game, Womack hits a double to drive in Jones and Shope, pulling Newton County within one 5-4. With Womack, Mike Terry and Austin Taylor all on the bases, Connor Hewell hit a hustling fielder's choice to the shortstop to score Womack from third.

Hunter Phillip ended the inning with a strikeout and two men on but Newton County scored four runs in the frame to tie it at 5-5.

Newton County took the lead for good in the following inning, as Ritchey hit a RBI single to right field to score Jones, who reached on a walk, putting Newton County ahead 6-5 in bottom of fifth inning. Womack followed Ritchey with an RBI double to make it 7-5 and chased Landrum out of the game. Mississippi brought in Taylor Gainey to pitch with one runner on and two outs in fifth but the damage was already done.

Newton 15, Virginia 0

Newton County's bats came to life in its third game of the 2012 Dixie Boys World Series Tuesday.

Every batter for Newton County had at least one hit against four Virginia pitchers. Austin Taylor, Connor Hewell, Ritchie and Stevens all had two hits for the host team. Ritchie drove in three runs, while scoring three more and Nick Womack had a two-run home run in the sixth inning.

"They're backs were against the wall to the point where one loss sends you home," Newton County coach Denny Hewell said. "They knew the chips were down. I couldn't ask for a better hitting performance."

Newton County took a 3-0 lead against Virginia in the top of the second inning, added three more runs in the third, three more in the fifth and ended it in the sixth.

Leading 9-0 after the fifth inning, Newton County as one run away from the 10-run rule, and got it and more in the top of the sixth. Shope led off by hitting into an error and Womack followed with a monstrous home run to center field.

Newton County later loaded the bases and Hill walked Powell to score Hewell. Stevens followed with a two-RBI single up the middle, scoring Ritchie and Rowe. Jones ended the scoring on a sacrifice grounder to second base.

Newton 9, S.C. 3

The host team tallied six hits, including a home run and four doubles, to put together seven runs in the third en route to a 9-3 win over South Carolina at City Pond Field. Newton County allowed a run in the first inning thanks to a crucial error as pitcher Gray Ritchey and first baseman Hunter Phillips both went for a pop up near the pitcher's mound.

South Carolina's Ryan Taylor hit the high-fly ball, which fell to the mound to let a runner reach base.

The out would have been the final one of the inning, however, the next batter, Brandon Spittle hit a single to shallow center, scoring Edward McMillan.

South Carolina added to the lead thanks to another Newton County lapse in the third inning. South Carolina's Robert Jones led off with a single and moved to second on a sacrifice, before a hit by McMillan moved him to third.

McMillan and Jones than had a double steal with Newton County throwing to second base, allowing McMillan to score.

However, following the third inning, Newton's defense settled down and its offense came to life.

Having managed no hits and only one base runner in the first two innings, the host team connected on six hits in the third.

Marquell Stevens, who sparked Newton County's win over Mississippi with a home run Monday night, started the third inning with a double. He moved to third on Jared Jones' groundout and scored on Blake Shope's sacrifice grounder to short stop. Nick Womack then hit a two-run home run to left center, followed by a solo home run by Jake Jones just over the center field wall.

Hunter Phillips hit a two-out double to score Hewell and Phillip Rowe, courtesy running for Gray Ritchie. Stevens, who already had a double in the inning, had another, this time scoring Phillips and chasing starting pitcher Taylor Finlay from the game. Newton County put up seven runs as 11 batters saw plate appearances in the inning.

For full stories on each of Newton County's games please see CovNews.com. Also, check the website, Twitter and Facebook for updates throughout Newton County's chase for a Dixie Boys World Series championship.

 

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