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Newton Lady Rams softball generating positive energy
Elle Standard (10) has been a stalwart in the pitcher's circle for the Newton Lady Rams all season long. - photo by Phillip B. Hubbard

COVINGTON, Ga. — It has been rough sledding so far for the Newton Lady Rams all around in 2022. They have suffered numerous shutout losses and have only cracked the win column once. 

Nevertheless, head coach Virginia Tucker-Smith stressed the importance of her players maintaining a positive energy throughout each game. She believes that could carry this year’s team a long way. 

“Energy, whether it be negative or positive, is infectious,” Tucker-Smith said following Newton’s game against Parkview on Aug. 29. “We were all loose and excited to be out here tonight. The energy was different tonight and I hope they noticed that we play better when the energy is better.” 

So far, the Lady Rams’ lone win of 2022 came against Eastside winning 3-1 in the Newton County Diamond Day on Aug. 20. Beyond that, the closest Newton has come to winning was on the same day against Alcovy when the Lady Rams lost 6-5 in eight innings. 

Three of the teams’ four region losses haven’t been close, though. 

Newton lost to Brookwood 10-0, lost to Grayson 12-0 and, in its latest region contest, the Lady Rams lost 15-0 against Archer. 

Though the region losses have been heavily in favor of their opponents, Tucker-Smith said the difference in winning and losing is small. 

“We made a ton of errors in the Brookwood and Grayson games,” Tucker-Smith said. “We might as well let them sit over here and hit off the tee. And the score reflected tons of errors.” 

However, before the season started, Tucker-Smith wanted to see her team improve in their at-bats. And, despite the errors, she believes members of the team have shown considerable progress.  

“Aaliyah [Parsons} has made good contact every time she’s up to bat,” Tucker-Smith said. “Aaliyah Wilcox has hit the ball well all season long — I wouldn’t be surprised if she’s hitting above .500 at the end of the season. Our [younger players] seemed to be more comfortable and showing it in the box.[The players] overall are making better contact.” 

Another strong performance this year has come from Elle Standard

, the Lady Rams’ ace in the pitcher’s circle. 

Standard has registered numerous innings for Newton this season as a junior. Tucker-Smith hasn’t overlooked Standard’s importance to the team, either. 

“I wouldn’t know if Elle has pneumonia. That’s how she is,” Tucker-Smith said. “I’ll ask, ‘Are you good?’ And she’ll respond right away, ‘I’m fine.’ I don’t think she knows how much I appreciate just knowing she’s that dependable.” 

And, even though Newton (1-8, 0-5) sits at the bottom of the Region 4-AAAAAAA standings, it will play each region opponent twice more to give it a chance to improve its region standing and potential playoff positioning. 

Heading into the last two-thirds of the season, Tucker-Smith wants to see her team continue to bring positive energy and remain competitive in a tough region. 

“If we play solid defense, hit the ball and do the little things and we still come up short, that’s one thing,” Tucker-Smith said. “But when you go out and just embarrass yourself, that’s what I have a problem with.

“More than anything you want to see what other teams are working with and where you need to take advantage.”