COVINGTON, Ga. -- After a slow first inning, the visiting Newton Lady Rams softball team were warmed up enough to shut Alcovy out 9-0 in a five-inning non-region game on Tuesday.
Tuesday’s game was a battle of first year coaches, Newton’s Erin Steele and Alcovy’s Kelli Wesley. Steele walked away with her first coaching victory after the game was won in the fourth inning.
“(I feel) awesome,” said Steele. “I got my first win. I’m really excited. It was a good team win.”
It was at the top of the fourth frame when the game broke open for the Rams. It happened when Newton’s Jarden Johnson was able to win her battle with Alcovy’s pitcher, Laney Knight. As she advanced to first base, Alcovy’s defense overthrew the ball, allowing Johnson to run to second.
Madison McDaniel then hit a single and then advanced two bases after freshman Ty’Liyah Hardman’s double. Hardman captured an RBI by bringing Johnson home for a 3-0 score. Alleriah Russell captured two RBIs when she ushered in McDaniel and Hardman home with a double. With two outs, the Lady Rams (1-1) were able to gain four more runs before turning the inning over to Alcovy (2-4).
“We just started putting hits together,” said Steele. “That’s what I told them to do with the first two (hits). We were getting hits, we just needed to string them together.”
Those four runs were made by: Kaitlyn Neely, Grace Dial, Gabby Lester and Britney Ellis. Neely hit a double and came home for a 6-0 score, when Dial hit a single. Dial stole second base while Lester was at bat. And after Lester walked to first base from a ball count, Ellis hit a single that bought Dial home and sent Lester’s courtesy runner Mariah Williams to second base.
WIlliams then stole third and home while Johnson was at bat. Freeman, running for Ellis, also stole three bases to get home while Johnson was at bat.
Lester is a newcomer to the Lady Rams, but she is no stranger to the game of softball. Last year, the catcher was a power player for Heritage’s 2016 region title and state tournament qualifying team.
“(Lester) is doing great,” said Steele. “She’s doing an awesome job behind the plate and working with me on calling signs. She’s an awesome team player and I’m happy to have her on the team.”
In the fifth inning, the Lady Tigers did a good job on defense with keeping Newton’s half of the inning short. However, at the bottom of the last inning, Alcovy was not able to produce any runs to keep them in the game.
The first run of the game was made by Ellis and courtesy runner Tyanna Freeman in the second frame, when she was first up to bat. Hardman put the Rams up 2-0 in the third inning when she knocked a triple, almost hitting the ball beyond the fence.
The Lady Tigers had difficulties getting past Ellis and the Newton defense. Ellis pitched the entire game for Newton. Alcovy had a joint pitching effort between Knight and McKenzie Rodgers, and the Tigers spent little time on offense and received their outs fairly quick. Throughout the game, Newton would not let Alcovy advance further than first base.
“I wish that we could have played better as a team,” said Wesley. “I wish that we were not shut out. Our pitchers worked really hard. We’ll get it together. I’m optimistic. I’m believing that we’ll pull together as a team and make something happen. It’s just really disappointing being shut out at home.”
The Tigers will open Region 3-AAAAAA play Thursday when it travels to face Lakeside-Evans. Meanwhile, Newton hosts Lithonia Saturday at noon before engaging its Region 8-AAAAAAA schedule.