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Posted: July 21, 2009 5:48 p.m.

Walk-off HR sends Newton Southern home

Late HR lifts Albany American into next round.

Anthony Banks/

Two sides of victory: The home team came up short Monday at City Pond Park as Albany American stunned Newton Southern with a dramatic 7-4 win at its last at-bat.

While Newton County National was pounding West Augusta into submission, the Newton County American All-Stars were one field away in a battle to stave off elimination. It didn’t happen as they lost to Albany American 7-4 on a walk-off home run in the sixth inning.

In the beginning, things were going pretty smoothly for Newton American. Floyd Ellis was pitching solid on the mound, and in the second inning, DeAnthony Bell jacked a two-run homer over the center field wall and into someone’s yellow Neon, giving Newton a 2-0 lead.

In the bottom of the second, Albany led off with a solo home run and then tied the game with a RBI single, but Newton recaptured the lead in the third inning off an error and a fielder’s choice. Newton stayed strong and held the 4-2 lead until the fifth inning. That’s when things went sour.

After a ground out, Albany American’s Keith Hayes walked and then advanced to second on a wild pitch. The next batter, Dontavious Campbell, hammered one tight down the third base line which pushed Hayes toward home. The relay throw from the outfield to home was perfect and beat Hayes to the plate, but Newton’s catcher let the ball bounce off his glove, allowing Hayes to score. At the same time, Campbell who was hustling the whole way, rounded third base, but then stumbled and retreated back. But, the umpire said Campbell had been interfered with by Newton, so Campbell was given a free trip home, scoring the tying run.

After all that, Newton’s batters couldn’t respond in their half of the sixth inning. Newton American went in order in the top of the sixth, setting up the late-game heroics. Albany American won it in the bottom half of inning with a walk off three run homer.

Despite the lost, Newton American’s coach Jessie Johnston said he was proud of his team.

"This is the way I knew my boys could play. They played awesome today," he said. "That interference call was big. It killed us. But they played their hearts out today and I was proud of them."

Newton American had shown a flare for the dramatic. The day before, Newton American came back from four runs down to beat Duluth 7-6 in the seventh inning, keeping them alive in the tournament.

Down 6-2 in the third inning, Newton American scored one run in the third and then three more in the fifth to tie the game at 6-6. Then in the bottom of the seventh, Floyd Ellis smoked a hit up the middle and ran all the way to third when the center fielder bobbled it. Ellis hung tight on third while two Newton batters struck out, but with the fourth man up to bat, Duluth threw a wild pitch and Ellis sprinted home and slid in safely for the winning run.

Unfortunately, Newton’s luck didn’t carryover into the next game against Albany American. The game ended again in dramatic fashion, but this time Newton American was on the losing end.

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