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Rams punish Stephenson for first region victory, 11-1
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By Eric R. Wallace

COVINGTON - The Newton High baseball squad won its first region game of the year Friday night after putting on a classic showing against Stephenson at Riverside Park, 11-1.

The game ended with the umpires invoking the mercy rule in the bottom of the sixth inning to send the Jaguars (6-4 overall, 3-2 Region 2-AAAAA) westward bound on I-20 with an embarrassing castigation.

Chris Boyd started for the Rams (4-8, 1-3), putting on an almost flawless performance by striking out six batters, walking two and surrendering just three hits.

"Chris is probably the best pitcher we've got going right now," said Newton coach Billy Roper. "He gives us a chance to win games. Today we got the hits and we took away their chances by playing good solid defense."

The Rams scored four runs in the bottom of the first to set the tone after the Jags scored their only run in the top half of the inning.

In the second frame, Newton tacked on another run after a perfect bunt by Brian Breckon. It scored D.J. Hill, who led off the inning with a single, giving the Rams a 5-1 cushion.

"We needed this win," said Boyd. "Usually my fastball is my best pitch, but it was my curve today."

While Boyd continued to dominate on the hill, Newton's offense struck again in the fourth after a dormant third inning.

Jason Knight belted a 3-2 fastball, sending it soaring over the right-center field fence for a three-run home run to give the Rams a commanding 8-1 lead.

"He threw me a fastball a little outside and I caught it," said Knight. "I was glad to contribute because it was my first homer of the season."

The Rams plated yet another run in the fifth after a passed ball brought Reginald Kelly home, who had previously singled to left field.

"I'm proud of our guys," Roper said. "It just shows you what kind of team we've got."

In order for the Rams to remain in the playoff hunt, they must win their next three region games against Douglass, Union Grove and Lithonia.

"We've got to get hot," Roper admitted of his team. "We've got to have good pitching and timely hitting to stay alive in the playoff hunt."

Newton will next visit Douglass at 5:30 p.m. Monday.