Mistakes doom Rams in shutout

COVINGTON - A combination of mistakes led to the Newton baseball team's downfall in a 13-0 loss to Luella on Friday at Riverside Park.

Newton's three pitchers allowed nine hits and issued 10 walks. The trio on the mound also had eight wild pitches. Defensively, Newton committed four errors.

"Walks killed us, but a lot of those happened after we made mistakes. In the first couple of innings, if we make the play, they might score one or two runs. When your pitchers are struggling, you've got make the plays," Newton coach Billy Roper said. "Defensively, we didn't come close to making plays.

"They scored 13 runs, but five or six were probably earned. That lets you know that something else happened. We have yet to find our niche defensively. We have to help our pitchers out and we're not even close to doing that right now."

While stopping Luella (5-6 overall, 2-0 in 2-AAAAA) may have kept the Rams (3-6, 0-1) in the game for a bit longer, it wouldn't have done them any good without scoring some runs.

Newton had several opportunities to get on the board and put some pressure on the Lions. However, poor decisions on the base paths and a lack of timely hits put an end to those chances.

A sacrifice bunt by Josh Cloer put runners on second and third with out one in the second inning. But the other two batters were unable to get the ball out of the infield, leaving the runners stranded.

Newton again had a chance to score in the third with runners on the corners and no outs. After a wild pitch by Luella, the runner on third got caught trying to go home after being told to hold his base.

The runner who reached second base on the wild pitch got caught in a rundown and the Luella shortstop missed a fly ball in the infield.

In the fourth inning following a triple, the runner got thrown out at the plate when Luella's third baseman went home rather than getting the out at first.

"This is the first game that's really killed us was base running," Roper said. "We had four base running mistakes that could've been four runs, all from third base on. When we have runners in scoring position, you can't have mistakes like we made. The all around effort was poor. We're not going to beat anybody with that effort."

While Luella scored at least one run in all five innings, the third inning put the game out of reach. The Lions sent 10 batters to the plate where they scored six runs to make it 10-0.

Offensively the Rams had five hits by Chris Boyd, Jason Knight, Kinley Bryant, Quenton Pooler and D.J. Hill.

Manny Fils can be reached at manny.fils@newtoncitizen.com.