The constant light showers on Thursday evening couldn’t stop the Newton/Tucker contest from happening and the Tucker Lady Tigers couldn’t stop the Lady Rams’ offense from pouring in points as Newton drowned Tucker, 14-2 on senior night.
Britney Ellis held down the circle for the Lady Rams and totaled five K’s and no hits through four innings pitched.
Newton’s offense was able to get on base early and often. To begin the bottom of the first inning, leadoff batter Ciara Bryan laid down a bunt to get on at first before stealing second. Markayla Price and Katy Ammons were respectively hit by a pitch and the Lady Rams were in business with the bases loaded.
Ashley Weesner knocked one to short, the ball was bobbled, but Tucker managed to get Price out on her way to third as Bryan crossed home plate. A passed ball at home would move the two lone baserunners into scoring position. Ashton McKinnon grounded out on her at-bat, but scored Ammons and moved Weesner to third.
Ellis followed it up with a bunt that should’ve been a routine out, but the catcher made a bad throw and Ellis made it to second and Weesner scored easily. Erianna Card came in to pinch run for Ellis, and she successfully stole third and eventually home, both on passed balls at home. Tucker was able to get the final out of the inning with a strikeout to end the first.
The rain had no effect on Ellis as she was able to retired the side in order at the top of the second inning.
An error allowed Sapphire Ortega to make it to base safely. Ortega stole second, but it wasn’t necessary. Bryan hit a shot to deep center that forced the center fielder to jump and attempt to catch the ball but it went off her glove and Bryan turned the mistake into an infield homerun. Newton held a 6-0 lead entering the top of the third.
Again, Ellis and the Newton defense went to work retiring the side in order.
Tatyana Wimby got the Lady Rams’ offense going with a double. Then Ortega and Bryan walked respectively to load the bases. A passed ball at home allowed Wimby to score. Price struck out for the second out of the inning with two runners in scoring position.
Ammons hit a shot to left to score Ortega and Bryan and Weesner joined Bryan with an infield homerun of her own to add two more runs to the Lady Rams’ total. McKinnon would single following the infield homerun. Another error on a hit from Ellis would allow McKinnon to score. Madison Kinard kept the momentum going with a hit to right field that scored Card, who was pinch running for Ellis. That would be the final run of a seven-run third inning for the Lady Rams, with six of the runs coming with two outs.
Ellis, who had knee surgery in the off-season and wears a brace on her left knee, felt her right knee pop during the fourth inning, but despite the pain, she played through it. The Lady Tigers managed to score two runs in the period off of two walks and two passed balls at home, but Ellis got out of the inning without any major damage done and Newton scored the winning run in the bottom of the fourth when Price singled to score Ortega and end the game.
Ellis likely could’ve come out of the game if Newton’s second pitcher, Madison Chronic wasn’t injured. Ellis is Newton’s only pitcher if Chronic doesn’t come back from her shoulder injury.
“She had a great performance,” Ashley Coles, Newton head coach, said. “They were shutting them out until the last inning. She was throwing hard, moving the ball well. Her knee popped and she does have some issues with her knees so that’s definitely something we gotta take a look at. It concerns us, but I think she’ll be alright and hopefully she can rest up, ice and get back out there next week.”
Coles says her biggest takeaway from the game was her team’s confidence. She was proud of how well her team hit the ball and played defense, especially in the rain.
“It’s tough,” Coles said about playing in the rain. “Right when school let out all the girls were asking, ‘Are we gonna get to play?’ It’s hard to do that especially with pitching. It’s a wet ball, you’re always trading the ball in and out, but I thought we did pretty well with it. We rose to the occasion.”