COVINGTON - The Lady Rams softball team played a defensively sound game against Union Grove on Wednesday at Turner Lake.
Unfortunately for Newton, its offense could not keep up with the Lady Wolverines as the Lady Rams dropped their first Region 2-AAAAA game in a 3-1 loss.
Three big defensive stops by the Lady Rams occurred in the first, second and seventh inning.
In the first and second innings, Newton catcher Chaconna Marks tagged runners trying to score. Then in the seventh inning, Marks threw the ball to first baseman Stevie Hodges to catch the runner off the bag.
"Defensively, we held our own. We held them to three runs, which is better then we did last year," Lady Rams head coach Jason LaChappelle said. "Like I said, defensively we're pretty solid. We have a couple of really good catchers. I'm not worried about protecting the runs at the plate. Anything that's hit on the ground in the infield and they're trying to score, it's not going to happen with these girls."
The one aspect of Newton's game that was not solid was their offense as Union Grove pitcher Meagan Stover struck out 12 batters and gave up four hits.
"So far this season, we haven't seen pitching that strong. Regionally, Union Grove has always been a strong team," LaChappelle said. "Definitely one of the top three you want to beat."
Hitting the ball for Newton were Markea Sheppard, Sami Becker, Chermisha Roberts and Hodges.
Newton's lone run came in the bottom of the fourth when the Lady Rams had their only back-to-back hits.
Roberts got on base before stealing second and third base.
Hodges was able to bring her home with a double to make the score 3-1.
"We need to be more aggressive at the plate and that's all there is to it. We get up there and every other swing is a lazy swing. There's not much you can accomplish with that," LaChappelle said.
Union Grove grabbed an early lead, scoring twice in the top of the first inning. The Lady Wolverines' other run, a solo home run by Stover, came in the third inning.
"You drop two in the first inning and you can't come back and match it, that would mess with anybody's mind," LaChappelle said. "It's kind of hard to win ball games when you leave runners in scoring position."
Manny Fils can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.