COVINGTON, Ga. — Darrell Helm hoped his team would respond to the wake-up call.
Following the Rams’ 19-1 defeat at the hands of Lakeside in their home opener on Feb. 27, the first-year Newton High School head baseball coach didn’t mince words about his kids’ performance.
“We’ve just got to get better,” he bemoaned. “We didn’t really do much of anything really well. Hopefully this is an eye-opener for the kids that we’re not just preaching, we’re preaching for a reason.”
Two weeks have passed since that night, and it’s safe to say Helm’s club is now fully awake.
Hosting Region 8-AAAAAAA adversary Rockdale County in its second home game of the season Wednesday night, Newton glided to a 15-0 victory in four innings to stretch its winning streak out to four games. The Rams have climbed themselves out of an early hole and now sit one game over .500 at 5-4.
“It feels great,” Helm said Wednesday. “We’ve been very limited in what we can do because of the rain, and considering the home opener didn’t go our way, this is a great way to kind of come out and give the fans what they want to see.”
Newton pounced on Rockdale County quick, plating six runs in the first inning before adding one run in the second frame, five in the third and three in the fourth. Junior Zion Ross and senior Brody Landreau led the effort offensively against the Bulldogs by going a combined 5-for-6 at the plate with five runs and a pair of RBI.
Since getting embarrassed by Lakeside on their home diamond, the Rams have taken their frustration out on opponents to the tune of 66 runs over four games.
“Oh, man. We’re really hitting the ball. The practice and the hard work we’re putting in is really starting to pay dividends now, and it’s really starting to show,” Helm said. “We’ve just got to keep [the bats] hot. We’ll keep putting in the work we can and just keep them alive going into the game Friday and then going into the Grayson series next week.”
Newton is now 2-0 in the region after outscoring Rockdale County 33-4 through two games this week. It’s early, but the club has plenty of reason to be encouraged by the strong start after posting a 3-12 mark against league opponents last spring.
“Getting up early in the region like that, kind of setting the tone early with these boys, it’s really big for them,” Helm said. “Last year was kind of hit or miss, so to come out and win two games in such a convincing fashion like we have is a great little confidence booster for us.”
The Rams hope to carry that confidence into Friday’s series finale with Rockdale County as they’ll try to complete the sweep on the road at 5:55 p.m. They’ll then return to their home field next Monday, March 16, for the first leg of a three-game set with perennial powerhouse Grayson.