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Newton tops Salem in Griffin Diamond Classic
Lady Rams split opening two games

GRIFFIN - Newton's softball team finished with the best record of the three local schools at 1-1, while Salem and Alcovy were winless, going 0-2 in pool play, during the opening day of the Griffin Diamond Classic on Friday.

As a result, the Lady Rams will play the silver division today, while Salem and Alcovy will play in the bronze.

Newton beat Salem 8-4 in its first game before losing to Crisp County 3-1.

Salem lost to Crisp County 6-0 in its opener, while Alcovy dropped a 3-1 decision to Georgia Military and a 4-1 loss to Lovett.

In the Salem-Newton game, the Lady Rams plated their first run in the bottom of the first inning when Sami Becker scored on a Haleigh Higgins hit. Their second run scored as a result of an interference call.

Salem threatened to score in the second, but Markea Sheppard was able to throw the batter out at first to end the inning.

The Lady Rams broke the game open in the home half of the second, scoring five runs on three hits, including a two-run double by Holly Springer.

Just like Newton in the second inning, the Lady Seminoles took advantage of errors in the third.

After loading the bases on a hit batter and a couple of errors, Newton's defense stiffened to get two outs. However, Salem was able get on the board with Justice Smith scoring on a wild pitch.

"The problems we're having right now with lack of experience will work themselves out," Newton coach Jason LaChappelle said.

Tori Beauchamp and Meghan Campbell scored on a Jessica Vason single to make it 7-3.

The Lady Rams got a run back in third before Salem's Kristi Allbritten hit a triple and plated Kara Yorkman. Unfortunately for Allbritten, she was thrown out at the plate trying stretch her triple into an inside-the-park home run.

"That's the thing, Newton got key hits when they had runners on base. We did that once and that was when we scored our runs," Bassett said. "We just need to be a little more consistent."

Newton's Sheppard paced all hitters going 3-for-3, including a double.

"There's nothing but good things to say about Markea. She's definitely one of the constants on the team this year," LaChappelle said.

Newton's Higgins had two hits while Chaconna Marks, Chastity Lester, Becker and Springer each had one for the Lady Rams. Salem's Beauchamp had a double in the game while Vason paced the Lady Seminoles with two hits.

Against Crisp County, the Lady Seminoles started slow giving up all six runs in the first three innings.

The game between Newton and Crisp turned out to be a pitchers' duel until several illegal pitch calls and an error allowed Crisp County to score three runs and get the win.

Alcovy only scored two runs in the two games with Jasmine Tolen crossing the plate both times.

While the Lady Tigers played good defense most of the time, their offense lacked the consistency needed to win.

"You have to score more than one run to win a ball game. If we keep teams at three runs or less, we should win those ball games," Alcovy coach Casey Bates said. "We had runners on base, we just couldn't get hits. We learned a few things tonight.

"We had one bad inning pitching. Summer (Kusch) went out there and got a little tired and gave up three runs. Overall, I was happy with their performance. Wining this is not going to win the state tournament."

In the South Gwinnett Diamond Classic, Heritage tied South Gwinnett 1-1 in its first game before losing to Apalachee in the second game 4-1.

At Brookwood, Eastside tied the Lady Broncos 1-1 in its opener, but then lost to Ola 5-1 in the second game.