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Knights finish second at USSSA Super NIT Warm-up
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MORROW - On Saturday, the Newton Knights, Covington's 11 & under AA boys travel baseball team, competed in a field of AAA and AA teams from the Atlanta area in the USSSA Super Nit Warm-up at the Morrow/Lake City Complex.

This was an important tournament for the Knights because of the teams they will play this week in Atlanta at the USSSA Super NIT Tournament. Coach Leroy James was especially looking forward to using the games played at this tournament, especially against the AAA teams, to help prepare the Knights for the upcoming competition.

"There will be teams from all over the state and teams coming in from out of the state to compete in that tournament," James said.

Due to poor field conditions Sunday at the complex, further play was cancelled. Therefore, the Knights finished in second place to the Jack City Dodgers from Lawrenceville. (The Knights felt shortchanged because they didn't get to face the Dodgers in a championship game.)

The Jack City Dodgers was the only team to win both of their games in pool play with three teams - the Knights, Belvedere Dodgers and the Georgia Monarchs - having the same 1-1 record in pool play.

The Knights were awarded second place because of the number of runs scored (19) and the number of runs allowed (11).

Newton's only loss of the tournament came from the Monarchs, an AAA team from Ellenwood, with a score of 10-6.

The Monarchs jumped out to a strong start in the first inning scoring three runs, including a two-run homer in the top of the third to give them a 5-0 lead.

The Knights came back in the bottom of the third with Jalen Martin hit a two-run double to left field, scoring Hunter Clark and Casey Palmer. Ben Moses followed with a walk, which put Martin and Moses on the corners for J.L. Banks, who hit a shot to center field to plate two more runs.

With two outs in the fifth, A.J. Howard went deep to right field to score Banks, tying the game. But the Monarchs rallied in the same inning, plating another five runs which included a three-run homer.

In their last at bat, the Knights added one more run after Branks scored Hunter Ballard with a laser to left field.

Playing back-to-back games, the Knights defeated the Belvedere Dodgers of Decatur in four innings of play, 13-1.

Overall, Banks had the hot bat in the tournament, hitting .800 which included four hits, four runs and five RBIs. Ballard hit .750 (three hits, three runs), while Howard averaged .500 (two RBIs). Palmer hit .500, followed by Martin who averaged .400 (three RBIs) and Evan House (.333, one RBI).

As a team, the Knights batted .372. Their pitchers allowed opponents to a .272 average. Ross Kirkpatrick and Clark each tossed three innings to lead the way. Palmer threw two, while Moses pitched one inning.

The Knights are ranked second in the coaches poll, third in the power rating and ninth in points in the state according to the USAAA ranking.

With a 12-5 overall record, the Knights have one first-place, three second-place and one fifth-place finish in tournament play.

For further information, send e-mail to team mom Gay Clark at