COVINGTON - Newton's Shea McInerny gave new meaning to the phrase, "Put me in, coach. I'm ready to play."
After undergoing a minor surgical procedure Monday, McInerny gave it her all Thursday, leading the Lady Rams to a 3-1 win over Class AAAAA No. 10 Parkview at Turner Lake Park.
McInerny came into the game in the top of the fourth inning with a three-run lead after Holly Springer injured herself running to first base.
Prior to the injury, Springer held Parkview scoreless in three innings of work. She struck out one and allowed three hits and a walk.
"I have two pitchers that I feel comfortable putting in in any situation," Newton coach Virginia Waters said. "I still believe that. This is proof that I can put one in halfway through and still be effective."
The Lady Rams were able to stall scoring threats by Parkview with double plays in the second, third and seventh innings.
The double play in the third occurred when Stevie Hodges threw the ball to catcher Chaconna Marks, who tagged the runner before throwing the ball to shortstop Kelsey Swinson who threw it to third baseman Zhandria Usher to complete the double play.
"These girls have such talent and instinct," Waters said. "You can't teach instinct, it's something that they just have."
In the bottom of the third inning, Swinson put Newton in the lead, scoring off a Marks sacrifice fly to center field.
Chermisha Roberts scored off Springer's RBI single to make the score 2-0 before Markea Sheppard scored the third run on a throwing error.
Parkview closed the gap in the fifth inning, but Newton's defense was able to hold them off the rest of the game.
"You definitely want to score in multiple innings," Waters said. "But one thing that is different about this team is that we've been able to score some runs and then back it up and hold a lead."
Joining Swinson with a double was Marks. Becca Brazelton, Springer and Usher got hits in the game.
"These girls played really hard today, and like I've told people before, I expect great things out of this team," an emotional Waters said. "We've got the best group of girls I've seen at (Newton). We proved it. We proved that we could play with anybody, even the ranked teams.
"It's the way they played; it's that Parkview is ranked 10 in the coaches poll. Anytime you can come in and beat a Gwinnett County team, which always have solid programs, it means something."
Manny Fils can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.