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PREP SOFTBALL: Lady Rams offense silent in first round loss
In game 1, Elle Standard pitched six innings allowing five hits, two earned runs and she struck out two batters. - photo by M. Chesny Young

NEWNAN, Ga. - The Newton Lady Rams found themselves in back-to-back pitcher’s duels when they faced the Newnan Lady Cougars on Wednesday for the first round of Class 7A State Playoffs. Newton came out on the wrong end of both games losing 2-1 and 2-0, respectively. 

Elle Standard was the Lady Rams’ game 1 starting pitcher who battled with Newnan’s starter, Maddie Veal. 

Standard worked the strike zone horizontally. She located slower curveballs on the outside parts of the strike zone. Veal worked the strike zone vertically. She hurled elevated rise balls that the Rams batters could not catch up to.

 Both pitchers were equally effective through the first four innings of game 1. 

In the fourth, it was Veal’s bat that finally ran into one of Standard’s curveballs. Veal cleared a home run that wound up on top of the batting cage behind the wall in center field to make the score 1-0.

Going over to the next inning, the Cougars increased their lead. With a bloop single, a well-placed bunt, a walk and then a ground ball hit to the Lady Rams’ shortstop, Newnan pushed a second run across home plate to make the score 2-0. 

Newton scored its only run of the day in the bottom of the seventh inning. 

Kate Anglin led off with a double down the third baseline. Two outs later, Chas Parker laced a double down the first baseline to score Anglin from second base. 

Parker’s RBI cut the deficit in half  2-1. She also placed her, the tying run, into scoring position with two outs in the final inning. Unfortunately, the next Lady Rams’ batter swung through one of Veal’s high rise balls to end the Lady Rams’ offensive threat and the first game.

Game 2 was more of the same for Newton. Veal’s pitching kept the Lady Rams’ offense at bay all night long. This time, Veal battled senior Hayden Pearson for the Lady Rams. 

In the third inning, Lady Cougars’ Carly Hector led off with a double over Anglin in left field. A batter later, another double was hit over Anglin’s head to put two Lady Cougars into scoring position. A ground ball pushed the first run across for the Lady Cougars. Another deep fly ball was hit to Anglin to make the score 2-0. 

For most of the night, the Lady Rams just couldn’t get anything going consistently on offense. That proved to be the difference-maker in Wednesday’s playoff matchup. 

Since the loss ended Newton’s season, head coach Virginia Tucker-Smith couldn’t help but reflect on the 2021 season. 

“At the beginning of the year we fought through adversity,” Smith said. “We had an up and down season the whole season. We came out tonight and put two good games together and I told them not to hang their heads.”