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DIAMOND DAY: Errors hinder Newton softball

COVINGTON, Ga. — It has been rough sledding for the Newton Lady Rams nine games in the 2023 season. They currently stand at 2-7 overall. 

The latest two losses came at Alcovy on Saturday in the Newton County Diamond Day. Newton lost to the Lady Tigers 7-2 and against the Eastside Lady Eagles 9-3. 

A commonality among the losses are errors, according to head coach Virginia Tucker-Smith. After Saturday’s games, Smith said she believes that’s what’s holding the Lady Rams back. 

“We showed everybody down here that we can play with them,” Smith said. “But we can’t play with them when we play against ourselves.”

Both contests were close early on. Through the first four innings against Eastside, Newton led 3-2. Then, its defense surrendered a four-run, fifth inning followed by an additional three runs in the sixth. 

It was a similar situation versus Alcovy. 

Two and a half innings in, the Lady Rams led 1-0. Then, the defense gave up four runs in the bottom of the fourth. From there, Newton couldn’t recover as it committed four errors in each contest. 

Smith wants to see how her team performs in practice and translate it to gameday. 

“We can do these things when we’re at practice,” Smith said. “But, it’s like, when we get on the big stage, it’s a completely different team that shows up sometimes.” 

Aaliyah Wilcox, Leilani Garcia and Karian Christmas each had an RBI in the two games. Wilcox’s RBI came off a solo homer to center field against Alcovy in game one – her second of the year.  

Senior ace Elle Standard was a workhorse throughout the day for her team. She pitched all 12 innings, allowed 11 earned runs — compared to the 16 total runs scored — recorded eight strikeouts and didn’t allow any walks. 

The Lady Rams have had some close matchups along the way, too. 

In the season opener on Aug. 8, they lost to Monroe Area 5-3 and, on Aug. 22, were edged out by Grayson 11-9. 

Newton’s first win came on Aug. 15 on the road at Barrow Arts and Sciences Academy (BASA) 16-0. The second win came Monday night right down the road at Rockdale County 11-0. 

On Tuesday, they will travel to South Gwinnett in a Region 4-AAAAAAA matchup. 

Moving forward, Smith wants to see her team have the “next play” mindset.

“We’ve talked about the mentality of it and how you gotta shake things off and make the next play, but we’re beating ourselves up and we can’t shake it off,” Smith said. “And so we live in our heads and, once we get up there, you might not come back down.”