First place in Region 2- AAAAAA was on the line on Tuesday evening as the Lions of Luella traveled to Newton High School to take on the Rams varsity baseball team.
Although the conditions were less than ideal, the top two teams in the region put on a great performance, as Newton staged a late comeback, edging the Lions 6-5.
The Rams fell behind 5-0, but showed mental toughness in the second half of the game, rallying from five runs down to pick up the win.
Starting pitcher Daniel Croom, who has had some successful outings in this season, started off slow on the mound, but then settled in.
“It was big win … it was big win,” Newton coach Andre Byrd said. “That puts us back on top and in the driver’s seat.”
Luella was clicking on all cylinders early on. With a runner on base, Trey Chapmen had base hit, scoring him and giving the Lions a 1-0 advantage. Luella added to its lead in the second inning, with Donald Hammond getting three runs on a triple. Chapmen added another RBI in the frame, and Luella held a five-run lead before the Rams got on the scoreboard.
Despite trailing, Newton’s bats woke up in the third inning. After a walk by Luella, Allen Bowen laid down a base hit, bringing Bowen in, scoring Newton’s first run of the game. Newton added another run in the third on a Luella error, cutting the Lions’ lead to three heading into the top of the fourth.
In the fourth inning, the game completely changed, as Newton seized the momentum and scored four runs while claiming the lead.
Once again, Bowen got another RBI single, bringing a run in, and Shawn Guckenburger plated two runs on a single.
Newton couldn’t add another score after Guckenburger’s base knock, but it was all they needed.
Kenny Glover came in and closed the game out for the Rams, clinching the region victory.
Newton will take on county-border rival Rockdale County on Friday evening, a team that defeated the Rams earlier in the season.
Byrd said Newton’s players and coaches are extremely excited for another shot against the Bulldogs.
“They know how important this game is,” he said. “Because we let it slip by the first time, but this time, we’re not going to let that happen.”
Game time is set for 5:30 p.m.