COVINGTON, Ga. — Exactly one week after throwing a no-hitter against cross-county rival Alcovy, it was Newton High School’s bats that went cold on a muggy Thursday night.
Grayson High School senior Kylie Macy pitched a 12-strikeout perfect game to lead her Lady Rams to a 4-0 victory over Newton. With the win, Grayson (11-2, 5-0) claimed sole possession of first place in Region 4-AAAAAAA.
Newton (7-1, 3-1) entered the night averaging 8.1 runs per game through their first seven contests. The Lady Rams collected 10 hits in a 4-0 win over Brookwood on Tuesday, which came on the heels of an 11-hit performance against Alcovy on Aug. 27.
On Thursday night, however, the potency of the Lady Rams offense came into question for the first time in 2020. Newton head coach Virginia Tucker-Smith tipped her cap to Macy, a University of Georgia commit, for keeping her girls off-balance at the plate. She also pointed to her team’s lack of adjustments leading to poor execution.
“We made a couple of errors, and the majority of us didn’t adjust at the plate,” Tucker-Smith explained. “And when you don’t adjust at the plate against a riseball pitcher, you’re going to stand up there doing a lot of swinging and not a lot of hitting.”
Tucker-Smith added that her club appeared to come out flat. On a day in which the mercury hovered above 80 degrees well into the late hours of the night, she felt Newton produced a sluggish performance both at the plate and in the field.
“Nothing about [Thursday] was the same type of positivity that we went into Brookwood with on Tuesday,” she said. “I think we just started off too slow. I know it’s hot, but we never got the energy that we definitely need to go into Grayson, and it transferred to the field.”
Newton’s first miscue came in the second inning. Grayson freshman Nia McKnight led off the frame by legging out an infield single. During the ensuing at-bat, McKnight took off toward second and induced an errant throw that landed in right field, allowing her to round third and race home for the game’s first run.
Grayson capitalized on fielding errors to light up the scoreboard once again in the third inning. With one out and one on, junior Emma Davis dribbled a ground ball that resulted in a stray throw, allowing a run to score and Davis to advance to third base. She later scored on a sacrifice fly, giving Grayson a 3-0 advantage.
In the fifth, Grayson senior Kayla Lang reached base via error to lead off the inning. She would later score from second base on an RBI single from senior Kelsie Walker, giving the Lady Rams a commanding 4-0 lead.
Newton will have seven days off before retuning to action on the road against Parkview on Thursday, Sept. 10. The Lady Rams were previously scheduled to host Social Circle on Tuesday, but the Lady Redskins were forced to find a replacement for that date when the Newton County School System suspended athletics indefinitely in August.
Tucker-Smith is hopeful that Thursday’s lackluster performance will result in a bounce back next week. Her Lady Rams are scheduled to travel to Grayson for a rematch on Sept. 24, and she understands they must find a way to alter their approach in order to avoid producing a similar result.
“You’ve got to adjust or you’ll have another 4-0 on the scoreboard when we go up there later this month,” Tucker-Smith said. “Those are the only options we have. We either figure it out or lose again.”