The Newton Rams made history Friday night, knocking their first home run out of the park at Ram Field, but history wasn’t enough to defeat the Columbia Eagles, as Newton fell 12-9 in non-region play.
Despite scoring nine runs in the win, Newton’s defense struggled, piling up a plethora of mistakes. Newton tried to erase its early errors with timely hitting and hung in despite its defensive miscues, but in the end, the Eagles’ bats proved too much.
“Nine runs should be enough to win,” Newton coach Andre Byrd said. “But, giving up 12 (runs) is awful. We are about half way there. The bottom line is we (have) to change the culture, and I’m trying to change the attitude.”
Columbia got it going in the top of the first inning. After a single by William Belcher, the Eagles got on the board quickly with a triple from Jalen Atterbury. A sac-fly added another run and Columbia took a 2-0 lead, never trailing the rest of the game.
Newton got an early run back in the first with an RBI-single from Allen Bowen, trimming Columbia’s lead to one.
After a scoreless second inning, the Rams tied the game at 2-2, loading the bases with three walks before pushing across a run on a wild pitch.
But the Eagles bounced back with an impressive performance in the third and fourth innings, scoring a total of five runs in the two innings.
Columbia plated two runs in the third on RBI-singles from Justin Washington and Jamal Devine before adding three more runs in the fourth, including a score on a wild pitch. Newton came back with a solid fourth inning, getting four runs back. Senior Montravious Boykin had an RBI-double, and Newton also scored on RBI singles from Kenneth Glover and Mason Callaway, bringing the Rams to within a run at 7-6.
Columbia extended its lead again in the fifth frame with another RBI-single, this time from the bat of William Belcher. The Eagles also scored in the inning on a bases-loaded walk. Columbia plated another run in the sixth, assuming control of the contest.
Despite the Eagles’ hot night at the plate, Newton’s Allen Bowen gave Newton life late in the game. Bowen knocked in a two-run homer, the first at Newton’s new park, but after two more runs scored by Columbia in the seventh inning, not even Newton’s solid offense could overcome the lead.