COVINGTON - Newton's D.J. Hill proved he could handle the pressure of being a game winner with his two-run bomb over dead center field in the top of the eighth inning Monday at Alcovy resulting in the final score of 9-7.
"He struck out the bat before and we just talked to him and said, 'Throw your hands. You're strong, throw your hands and hit the baseball,'" Newton head coach Billy Roper said.
Newton held a 7-4 lead heading into the bottom of the sixth inning when Alcovy made a come back.
After loading the bases for the fifth time in the game, Jon Pollard showed patience as he took a walk to score Jimmy Ingram.
Bryan Daniel made it 7-6 scoring on a wild pitch before an Ellis Fanning walk plated Pollard to tie the game.
While the Tigers were able to tie the game and get on base 24 times, they were only able to get seven hits. In all, Alcovy struck out 13 times and left 15 runners stranded.
"We get a couple of timely, key hits and we win the ballgame. I was proud of the way the kids battled. Newton went ahead three times and we came back every time," Alcovy head coach Joe Mobley said. "We're struggling at the plate right now, we're getting on base, but we struggling for that key hit."
Newton had a chance to win the game in the seventh inning when they loaded the bases with one out. But Ingram was able to throw Brian Breckon out at home for a forced out before Cole Loggins ended the inning in center field.
However, Newton took advantage of its next scoring opportunity with a home run.
The Tigers could have put the game out of reach in the early innings as they loaded the bases three times in two innings.
Despite piling on the runs, the Tigers could only muster a run in the first and one in the second while Newton scored three runs in the second inning.
The Tigers also hurt their chances of winning the game with errors. Even through they only committed three, they were costly and came at the worst time.
"We had three errors, just at the worst time. It's like they're going out there and committing on purpose," Mobley said. "It's part of the baseball game, Atlanta Braves make errors too. They're just at an inopportune time, what can you do?"
Newton made it 4-2 in the third inning before Alcovy came back to tie the game in the fourth.
The Rams, with help from an error, scored three more times in the fifth before the Tigers came back to tie the game in the sixth inning.
"I felt like we could play defense a lot better then we did," Roper said. "When you score a couple of runs you have to stop the other team from scoring the next time they come up. We weren't able to do that in the middle innings."
Reginald Kelly paced the Rams at the plate, going 3 for 3 including a double. Nick Hembree and Quenton Pooler joined Kelly and Hill in getting base hits for the Rams.
Alcovy's only extra-base hit, a double, was hit by Michael Aventurato in the fourth inning to score two runners and tie the game at 4-4.
"It's the first win and it's always good to get that win against a team in the county," Roper said. "It's good just to see some of the hard work pay off."
Manny Fils can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.