Rockdale wins 4-3 in eight innings

COVINGTON - The Rockdale softball team never gave up against Newton on Monday at Turner Lake Park.

Not even after the Lady Rams scored twice in the bottom of the seventh to send the game into extra innings.

However, the Lady Bulldogs manufactured two runs in the top of the eighth to beat the Lady Rams 4-3 in eight innings.

"We've got to produce our own runs and not expect people to make errors," Rockdale coach Holly Hamilton said. "Granted, I'm pleased that we took advantage of their errors and scored some runs off that, but we definitely need to hit more and not leave runners on base."

Rockdale had seven hits against Newton pitcher Shea McInerney and left 12 runners on the bases, including nine in scoring position.

Quilla Franklin and Katie Ferrell paced the Lady Bulldogs with two hits each.

Rockdale's first run came in the third inning when, with two outs, Amber Mitchell trotted home after Kaitlin Overstreet walked on four pitches.

Newton had a chance to tie the game after getting three hits in the bottom of the inning. Instead, the Lady Rams left runners on the corners.

"It's hard when the first two batters get a hit then nobody hits after them. We have to be more consistent at the plate, we have to be more selective," Newton coach Jason LaChappelle said. "The girls swung at a lot of junk; that was where Rockdale one-upped us. They were very selective and we weren't."

Rockdale made it 2-0 in the sixth when Ferrell reached second on a wild pitch and then scored on an overthrow.

The Lady Rams fought back and tied the game in the bottom of the seventh inning when a Marks line drive caught Rockdale pitcher Stephanie Scaffe in the ribs, allowing Holly Springer to score. The next batter, Haleigh Higgins, singled home Marks to tie the game.

With bases loaded in the top of the eighth, the Lady Rams were able to get two outs on forced plays at the plate.

But the third out did not come quick enough as Franklin hit a high pop fly that fell safely to the ground, allowing Hope Matthews to score. The winning run by Mitchell came off a wild pitch.

"Maybe I should have pulled her earlier, we have four games this week. But it was a non-region game and that was my biggest thing," LaChappelle said. "It could've been better. We shouldn't have given it up. Hopefully, the girls will bounce back from it."

In the bottom of the eighth, after a sacrifice bunt moved Markea Sheppard to third, Springer hit a sacrifice fly for Newton to make it 4-3.

Springer and Marks set the pace for the Lady Rams at the plate with two hits each.

The win is Rockdale's second win a row after losing six straight.

"After the Heritage game, we had some communication between the players and the coaches and worked some things out. I see a totally different team out here right now. Granted, we're not playing the best game that we have, but we're coming around to that and we're starting to build that," Hamilton said. "We are going to be a competitor in the region tournament. We just started so slow that we have to make up a lot of ground."

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