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‘Ready to compete’: Lady Rams eye big year on the diamond
By Phillip B. Hubbard
Newton Soft1
The Lady Rams spent all summer hosting workouts and tryouts. Now, they’re ready for the season to start. (Phillip B. Hubbard | The Covington News)

COVINGTON, Ga. — Summer workouts and season tryouts are beneficial to a team’s success. Throughout both, a team finds out who they are and who will play each position. 

It’s important to host workouts each offseason, but they can become mundane after a while. 

Newton High School’s softball squad, in particular, has had its feel and is ready for the regular season to commence. 

“You always come in worried,” head coach Virginia Tucker-Smith said. “But, so far, the girls have committed and we’re excited getting started. We’ve had enough of just practicing. We’re ready to compete.” 

The Lady Rams finished the 2020 season with an overall 17-10 record (6-6 region record) where they finished fourth in Region 4-7A. They were then swept by Lowndes County in the first round of the state playoffs. 

The 2021 season starts on Saturday at Pike County High School in Zebulon. Newton will play two contests against Upson-Lee High School and Pike County. The two games will be a part of the Border Bash Tournament. But the Rams are in a more comfortable position heading into the season compared to years past. 

Normally, the Lady Rams struggle to fill a varsity and a junior varsity roster. That’s not been an issue this offseason. 

The only potential problem could be the lack of size. Smith, though, plans to use this weakness as an advantage for her squad. 

“We’ve got a lot of speed even though we’re small,” Smith said. “We can bunt and stuff like that, so we’ll utilize that.” 

Another advantage the Lady Rams have is the amount of returners. Nine players return from last year’s squad. 

According to Smith, it will be the returning players’ experience that helps make this year more successful than last. It’ll be especially important if the Lady Rams accomplish their goal of advancing past the first round of the state playoffs. 

“They’ve taken it as a challenge,” Smith said. “They saw how upset last year’s seniors were with our performance at Lowndes. And they understand that, in order to compete with our region, we don’t have time to make mistakes.”