The Newton Rams varsity baseball team continued its early season trek thought the opening half of the season, welcoming Stephenson to their friendly confines Wednesday afternoon.
Even with the home field advantage and friendly crowd, the Rams couldn’t pull out a win, dropping their sixth game of the season in a 10-0 shutout to the Jaguars.
“Despite the loss, one bright spot in the game for us is that we got to put our sophomore Alex Johnson in as the pitcher, and besides the first inning, he played pretty well,” Rams coach Andre Byrd said. “(Unfortunately) three hits won’t win you the game, so we have to hit the ball better than that.”
The Rams sent Johnson to the mound as the starting pitcher and he struggled throughout the first inning, starting with a D.J. Neal single on the Rams’ first pitch.
Johnson surrendered a walk to the next batter he faced and allowed a base hit to the Jaguars’ Tek Whyte, who knocked in Stephenson’s first run with the base hit.
The Rams’ first out came on a sac-fly from Harrison Moore that also scored another run for Stephenson. Two more runs came in on a two-run double from Jordan Ballou.
Stephenson’s final run of the inning came in on another sac-fly, this time from the bat of Marcus Young, and the Jaguars ended the first-half of the inning on a fly-out to Mason Calloway with a 5-0 lead.
Whyte took the mound for Stephenson and struck out the first batter he faced. He surrendered a single to Calloway, but he took down Allen Bowen on a groundout and struck out Shawn Guckenberger to get out of the inning.
Johnson gave up hits to the first two batters he faced in the second inning and the first batter, Kameron Armstrong, scored on a double from Whyte. David Burke hit a sac-fly, scoring another run that put the Jaguars up 7-0.
Whyte took down the first two batters he faced in the second inning and ended the frame without surrendering a run.
Johnson came out in the third inning and finally settled in, striking out the side. The momentum carried over in Newton’s offensive have of the inning, as the Rams threatened to score for the first time in the contest.
Phillip Rowe and M.J. Boykin recorded a pair of base hits, giving the Rams a pair of base runners, but Rowe was called out on second base and Whyte struck out his next two batters, ending the inning.
Johnson continued to look strong in the fourth inning for the Rams, surrendering just one hit in the frame.
Guckenberger advanced to first on an error in the bottom of the fourth and Tristan McInerny dropped down a single, but Newton couldn’t capitalize. Whyte took down the next three batters he faced, keeping the Rams off the scoreboard.
Johnson began the fifth inning by giving up a base hit to Ballou, who also stole a base and advanced to third on an error, eventually scoring on a wild pitch to put Stephenson up 8-0.
Johnson struck out his next batter and got the second out of the frame on a groundout before forcing a fly-out to end the inning.
Ballou replaced Whyte on the mound in the fifth inning and continued what his teammate started, shutting out the Rams in the frame.
Johnson remained on the mound for the Rams in the sixth and gave uptwo more runs in the inning, ending the Jaguars’ scoring.
Ballou shut the Rams out once again in the sixth inning and the game was ended early due to the mercy rule. Whyte colelcted the win for the Jaguars and Johnson was forced to saddle for the loss for the Rams.
The Jaguars tallied 11 hits in the win, while the Rams were held to three hits and committed three errors.
Newton returns to action Friday in a region contest at home against Lovejoy at 5:30 p.m.