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Newton falls to crosstown rival Rockdale
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It just wasn’t in the cards for the Newton Lady Rams softball team (10-14 overall, 4-4 Region-2-AAAAA) to end their regular season on a winning note when they faced the Rockdale Lady Bulldogs (9-14-1, 3-6) Region 8B-AAAA) losing by the score of 1-0 at the Earl O ‘ Neal softball complex Thursday.

Markea Sheppard went to the hill for the Lady Rams striking out seven Lady Dogs, giving up six hits and one run while walking one batter.

Stephanie Scaffe dropped off the hill for Rockdale getting just one strikeout, giving up three hits and no walks.

Neither team had any help at the plate for most of the contest, which made it look as though a pitching duel was happening, but that was not the case.

Newton came up to bat in the first inning with the lead off batter grounding out to the pitcher before Chaconna Marks laid down a perfect bunt between third base and the pitcher’s mound with no one on base. The next two batters popped up to first and the catcher to retire the side.

Rockdale came up in their half of the inning to get two hits to put runners on at the corners but could not get a run across home plate missing an opportunity to take an early lead.

Newton made no threat of scoring in the top of the second going down 1-2-3 with the last batter striking out.

"Our problem today was the same as it has been all season," said Newton head coach Jason LaChappelle. "Our bats just can’t seem to come around for us. The hits we did get were hit directly to people. We’ve got to be more aggressive at the plate. We’ve got to find the gaps. With this being the last game of the regular season, I guess the girls are a little worn," continued LaChappelle. We’ve got to get our spark back real quick because we’ve got the region playoffs coming soon."

Rockdale came up in the bottom of the inning to get one runner on when Amber Mitchell singled up the middle. Sheppard got out of the inning getting the next two batters to ground out to the shortstop before getting the last hitter to swing at three fast balls to retire the side.

Newton went 1-2-3 in the third to keep the score at zero going into the bottom half of the inning.

Rockdale came to the plate to score the only run of the game when Kara Johnson hit a single to right field before MeQuilla Franklin brought her home safely off a long single to left center field giving the Lady Dogs the only run they would need.

"Neither team hit the ball very well," Rockdale head coach Holly Hamilton said. "I felt that we didn’t take advantage of several opportunities we had." Newton got no runs off two hits and one error, while Rockdale collected four hits for one run and no errors.

The next outing for the Lady Rams is Monday when they start the Region-2-AAAAA playoffs.