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Prep softball: Newton teams punch tickets for state tournaments

COVINGTON - All three Newton County softball teams are headed to state sectionals, but only Eastside has to wait until today to determine where it will play when the tournament starts Tuesday, with the if game coming on Wednesday.

Newton finished fourth in the Region 2-AAAAA tournament, sending the Lady Rams to either Camden County or Jenkins in Savannah in the first round of the state playoffs.

Alcovy, a No. 2 seed from Region 4-AAAA, will host a team from Region 1 in the opening round.

Region 2-AAAAA

The Lady Rams travel to Patriots Park in Evans on Wednesday where they lost to Union Grove 3-0 in the region tournament.

Of the three runs scored by the Lady Wolverines, only one was earned. Two came off an errant throw to first base.

Newton secured a trip to the playoffs with a 15-7 win over M.L. King before losing to Luella 3-2 and settling for the fourth spot.

Stevie Hodges and Kelsey Swinson paced the Lady Rams at the plate with four hits in the three-game stand. Hodges had a double, while Swinson had two triples, one from each side of the plate. Markea Sheppard and Chermisha Roberts collected three hits for Newton. Sami Becker (two triples) and Sheppard (double) also got extra-base hits.

Newton pitcher Shea McInerny combined for 10 strikeouts against Union Grove, which is ranked No. 5 in Class AAAAA by gasports.com, and Luella.

Class AAAA

The Lady Tigers secured home-field advantage with a 2-0 win over Griffin at Volunteer Park in Griffin on Thursday.

After its win over the Lady Bears, Alcovy faced Ola, winning the first game 4-1 before losing 7-1 in the second to finish as region runner-up.

Class AAA

After defeating Franklin County 2-1 on Tuesday in the first round of the Region 8-AAA tournament, the Lady Eagles traveled back to Elbert County and defeated the host team Thursday 5-0.

Eastside pitcher Amanda Henderson gave up two hits in the shutout win while striking out 19.

The Lady Eagles took a 3-0 lead in the first inning and never looked back.

Bianca Reed started with a single before stealing second base. She reached third on a passed ball after Kenya Shakoor was walked.

Amanda Hawkins' RBI single plated Reed, and Shakoor scored on a squeeze bunt laid down by Henderson.

Hawkins made it 3-0 when she scored before the courtesy runner was tagged out at second while trying to steal. The ball was thrown into the ground, giving Hawkins the chance to score.

Hawkins and Reed were 2-for-3 against the Lady Blue Devils. Hawkins drove in two runs and Reed stole two bases in the game.

The Lady Eagles play again today when they face Class AAA No. 1 Oconee County. The winner will advance to the region championship game, and the loser will drop down to the bottom bracket with a chance to play the winner in the championship game.

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