COVINGTON, Ga. — The tides appear to be turning in Newton County.
It was a historic afternoon for the Newton High School softball team on Saturday as the Lady Rams plastered county rival Eastside, 6-1, to continue their impressive run in 2020. It was Newton’s first win over the Lady Eagles since August 2018, and just their second victory against Eastside in their last nine meetings dating back to 2014.
The win put an end to a short losing skid for the Lady Rams, which saw the club drop three straight narrow decisions. In spite of their recent struggles, they entered this week at 12-6 overall and 4-3 against Region 4-AAAAAAA opponents. Eastside, meanwhile, dropped to 8-8 on the year and 4-4 in Region 8-AAAAA.
Eastside wasted no time attacking at the dish on Saturday. Leading off the first inning, junior Natalie Ray swung at the first pitch she saw and roped a ball into center field for a triple. Ray later came around to score on a sacrifice fly from junior Lauren Burnett, giving the Lady Eagles a 1-0 advantage.
But the Lady Rams had an answer.
Newton applied pressure in the home half of the opening frame with three straight singles off the bats of junior Hayden Pearson and seniors Aulora Edwards and Ty’Liyah Hardeman. Pearson later scored on senior Kaitlyn Neely’s sacrifice fly to tie the game.
Standing in the box with a 1-1 count in the third inning, Newton sophomore Kyla Stroud smacked a leadoff home run to center field to put her club in front. They never looked back.
The Lady Rams, who would go on to finish the day with 13 hits, ambushing Eastside for four runs in the fourth inning. Edwards and Hardeman recorded back-to-back run-scoring singles to give them cushion to work with. Neely later finished the job by driving in Neely on an RBI single, making it 6-1.
Pearson (2-for-3), Edwards (3-for-3), Hardeman (2-for-4), Stroud (2-for-4) and Neely (2-for-3) each produced multi-hit games. Pearson also did an admirable job in the circle to keep the Lady Eagles at bay, allowing just one earned run while striking out five over seven innings of work.
Newton will be back on its home diamond Tuesday evening as it resumes its region slate against Parkview. The Lady Rams will be on the hunt for revenge after dropping an 8-0 decision to the Lady Panthers on Sept. 10. First pitch is scheduled for 5:30 p.m.
Eastside will pick things back up this Thursday when it hosts region rival Loganville for a doubleheader. The Lady Eagles previously suffered a 1-0 loss to the Lady Red Devils on the road Sept. 8. Game 1 of Thursday’s doubleheader is slated to begin at 4:30 p.m., with the nightcap to follow immediately.
The Lady Tigers moved to 2-11 on the season by splitting a doubleheader with Grovetown on Thursday. They’ll be on the road this Tuesday for a doubleheader with Rockdale County, which was recently cleared to resume varsity athletics.
Game 1 is scheduled for 4:30 p.m.