After winning on Sunday to stay alive in the Dixie Youth State Tournament, both Newton County American and Newton County National had their backs against the wall again on Monday. Only one team left leave City Pond victorious as Newton American lost to Albany American in a 7-4 heartbreaker, while Newton National trampled over West Augusta 15-4 in four innings, advancing them to the next round of the tournament.
After losing to Albany American 8-2 in the opening game Saturday, Newton National kept their tournament bid alive Sunday by defeating Buford 9-3.
Newton National 9, Buford 3
Newton National scored one run in the first inning, four in the second, one in the fourth, and two in the fifth while using three different pitchers to hold Buford to three hits and two earned runs. Hunter Phillips pitched the first two innings, allowing one hit and no runs. Calvin Fleming pitched the next two and gave up two hits and two earned runs before Blake Shope worked the final inning and held Buford hitless to close the game.
Newton National 15,
W. Augusta 4After defeating Buford and getting a good night’s rest Newton National showed up Monday and put an even bigger beat down on West
Dontate Cooper pitched the complete four innings and held West Augusta to only three hits. Newton’s offense waited until the second inning to get going, but once it did, it was over quickly. Newton scored seven runs on five hits in the second inning and then four runs in the third. West Augusta managed to scrape out one run in the second, but it would have had more if it wasn’t for Newton National’s center fielder Austin Richardson, who made one of the best defensive plays of the tournament. With two outs and a man on third, Richardson charged a ball up the middle and threw a laser all the way to first base to beat the runner for the third out. The scoring run didn’t count and Newton jogged off the field to the roar of the home crowd.
In the fourth inning Newton was sitting comfortably atop a 11-4 lead, but Alex Parish and Blake Shope decided to end it right there. Parish hit a two-run homer and then Shope followed soon after with a two-run shot of his own to force the 10-run rule and end the game.
"That’s the way we’re used to hitting right there," said Newton County National coach Mike Bloodworth. "I expected that we would do well, but I was a kind of worried about our bats at first. But, I just told the guys to go out there and hit the ball hard and keep hitting the ball hard. And they went out there and hit the ball really well."
Bloodworth was pleased with his defense as well.
"We also made some good defensive plays," he said. "Austin Richardson threw a guy out at first base from center field, and that’s just unheard of. He [Austin] was pumped up; he came to win. Their coach was dumbfounded. I mean what are you going to do? Their kid hustled down the line, but Austin hustled to the ball and just threw a rocket to first."
The win ensured at least one more game for Newton County's lone team remaining.
"I’m proud of all my guys," Bloodworth said. "And you know, now we’re the only Newton team left in it. Southern got out last night and American lost a tough one today, so now this is our house. We have to protect it. It’s all on us."