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Newton demolishes M.L. King, moves on

COVINGTON - After an uncharacteristic three innings, the Lady Rams got it together to finish off M.L. King 16-3 in four innings to win the first game of the Region 2-AAAAA playoffs Tuesday at Turner Lake Complex.

Instead of concentrating on the game they were playing, the Newton girls were looking forward to today's region playoff game against Union Grove at 4 p.m. at Patriot's Park in Evans.

Newton committed three errors in the first three innings of play which gave the Lady Lions a small glimmer of hope as they scored two of their three runs on Newton mistakes.

"It was like I tried to explain to the girls, this team came out here confident that they could play us well. And they did do that. They jumped on some errors. We took this game for granted. At least those first few innings," Newton coach Virginia Waters said.

"We were looking at 4 p.m. (today) when we should have been looking at 5:30 p.m. (Tuesday). It showed those first few innings. These girls have got to be more self disciplined and they need to initiate more than they do."

The Lady Lions' Kerri Eubanks scored the first run on an overthrow trying to pick the runner stealing second base.

Newton tied the game when Chaconna Marks hit a sacrifice grounder to plate Markea Sheppard in the home half of the inning.

The Lady Rams were able to make up for that mistake, as well as the one in the third inning, by scoring six runs in the second inning to take a 7-1 lead.

After another throwing error allowed M.L. King to make it 7-3, Waters called timeout making the girls aware of the situation.

"I told them that I was embarrassed, this is not how we play ball. I can't remember the last time we had three errors in a ball game, especially those type of errors," she said. "I told them to suck it up and get it right or we may not have to worry about playing Union Grove at 4 p.m."

Her speech worked, as Newton jumped out to a 13-3 lead, scoring six runs in the bottom of the third. Four of those runs came off a Zhandria Usher grand slam.

"That was my first home run since I've been playing. It was the first good hit this season, my first real, real good hit," Usher said. "I was just trying to get a base hit since the bases were loaded. I looked at Chaconna and she started pointing I looked up. That's when I realized it was over (the fence)."

Newton pitcher Shea McInerny came out in the top of the fourth and struck out the side, giving her 10 for the night.

In the bottom of the fourth with the bases loaded and one out, Sheppard unleashed her power for a three-run, walk-off double to end the game.

Marks finished the game 3-for-3 with two doubles while Stevie Hodges also went 3-for-3 with one double.

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