By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
PREP SOFTBALL: Newton eager to take next step in 2020
Newton Softball
Newton won 19 games last fall before getting pummeled out of the state playoffs by the eventual state champions. Now, the Lady Rams are hoping to build off what they accomplished in 2019 and prove they're title contenders.

2020 Newton Varsity Softball Schedule

Date  |  Opponent  |  Time

Fri. 8/7 @ Morgan County (DH), 6:15 p.m. & 8 p.m. (East Jackson & Morgan Co.)

Sat. 8/8 Border Bash @ Lamar County HS (DH), 3 p.m. & 5 p.m. (Hampton & Mary Persons)

Tues. 8/11 vs. Upson-Lee, 5:30 p.m.

Thurs. 8/13 vs. Brookwood, 6:30 p.m.

Tues. 8/18 @ Grayson, 6:30 p.m.

Thurs. 8/20 vs. Parkview, 6:30 p.m.

Sat. 8/22 vs. Eastside, 1 p.m.

Tues. 8/25 vs. South Gwinnett, 5 p.m.

Thurs. 8/27 vs Alcovy, 6 p.m.

Fri. 8/28-Sat. 8/29 @ Hog Mtn Invitational Tourney

  • 8/28 vs Banks Co @ Jackson HS 4 p.m
  • 8/29 vs GMC @ Mill Creek HS 11 a.m.
  • 8/29 vs Franklin Co @ Mill Creek HS 1 p.m.

Tues. 9/1 @ Brookwood, 6:30 p.m.

Thurs. 9/3 vs. Grayson, 6:30 p.m.

Tues. 9/8 vs. Social Circle, 6:30 p.m.

Thurs. 9/10 @ Parkview, 6:30 p.m.

Fri.9/11-Sat. 9/12 @ Morgan County Tourney

  • 9/11 vs East Jackson @ Bill Wood Park 4:30 p.m.
  • 9/11 vs Strong Rock @ Bill Wood Park 6:15 p.m.
  • 9/12 @ Bill Wood Park, TBA
Tues. 9/15 @ South Gwinnett, 5 p.m.

Wed. 9/16 vs Norcross, 5:30 p.m.

Tues. 9/22 vs. Brookwood, 6:30 p.m.

Thurs. 9/24 @ Grayson, 6:30 p.m.

Tues. 9/29 vs. Parkview, 5:30 p.m.

Thurs. 10/1 vs. South Gwinnett, 6 p.m. (Senior Night)

Mon. 10/5 @ Collins Hill, 6 p.m.

Tues. 10/6 @ Strong Rock, 6 p.m.

COVINGTON, Ga. — The 2019 season didn’t end the way the Newton High School softball team envisioned it would.

The Lady Rams pieced together one of their most dominant campaigns in recent memory, powering their way to 19 wins and a 7-3 mark in loaded Region 8-AAAAAAA. But they ran into a buzzsaw in the opening round and were promptly axed from the postseason with back-to-back rule-rule losses to eventual state champion Mountain View.

Newton head coach Virginia Tucker-Smith and her club were bemused by the abrupt exit.

"I would have never ever in a million years thought we would come up here and get run-ruled in two games," Tucker-Smith told The Covington News last October. “No doubt in my mind we could have played with this team."

Following 10 months of reflection, Tucker-Smith still believes her club was better than it appeared on that fateful October night. However, after observing Mountain View’s dominant run to a state title, she’s found solace in the fact that the Lady Rams were bounced by a quality opponent.

“I feel like we were all surprised to lose the way we did because we had had what we thought was a really good season,” Tucker-Smith said last week. “But I guess the good thing about it is we lost to the eventual state champ, you know what I mean? As much as I hate losing, if that’s who I lost to in the first round, I’m OK with that.”

Newton now receives a fresh slate for the 2020 season, and the club’s goals remain the same. 

The Lady Rams, who won just 17 games combined between the 2016 and 2017 seasons, will try to improve on last year’s 19-win total. They’ll also be looking to get over the first-round hump that has caused them headaches in the state playoffs for the past decade.

“Hopefully the new region and what we learned from last year will help us going forward,” Tucker-Smith said. “We’ll figure it all out — what we need to do differently — come this postseason.”

The strength of the Lady Rams this season could very well be the depth of their pitching staff. Anchored by veteran arms Katelynn Anglin and Hayden Pearson, the staff is expecting significant contributions from a variety of other young players in the circle as well.

This influx of talent will afford Tucker-Smith the flexibility to plug her pitchers into different defensive roles on their days off without worrying about a decline in production.

“I’m excited. I mean, I’m really excited. I’ve never had this happen,” she said. “We usually have one ace, and then an iffy pitcher who can throw but doesn’t really have a lot of pitching. But this time I actually have several girls who have three, four, five pitches.”

Newton graduated its starting center fielder and third baseman from last season, but is bringing back six reliable bats who’ve also proven themselves on the defensive end.

Following a few additions and subtractions, Newton will be joined in the new-look Region 4-AAAAAAA by Brookwood, Grayson, Parkview, Shiloh and South Gwinnett. While the offseason has been abnormal due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Lady Rams mission is simple — showing the world they belong in the discussion about title contenders. 

“I really want everyone in our region, in the county and in the surrounding counties to know we’re not just out here running around through the ball around some days,” Tucker-Smith said. “We actually are a very competitive program.”

Newton began its season on the road over weekend with tournaments at Morgan County and Lamar County. The club is now set to host Upton-Lee in its home opener Tuesday, Aug. 11, at 5:30 p.m.