COVINGTON - The Lady Rams were able to jump on Salem early in the game and give Newton a 1-0 win Monday at Turner Lake Complex.
Newton had six hits, all in the first three innings, in the win. Unfortunately for Salem, the Lady Seminoles were only able to put the bat on the ball twice in the game, both in the second inning.
"It shouldn't have been close. If the girls are hitting, I told them I would make excuses for them not hitting for one or two games. But more than that I'm not," Salem coach Stephanie Bassett said. "This is not the same team that was playing at Griffin, and that was three weeks ago. They've got to start hitting or else we're not going to be able to compete.
"It wasn't like we were outhit. I would put my defense up against anybody, but even with a good defense we can't win. If you're not hitting there's not much you can do."
It was a defensive battle from the very beginning as the Lady Rams threatened to get on the board early.
Newton had runners on first and second base with one out in the bottom of the first inning before Salem's defense rose to the challenge, getting the next two batters out, including the first of eight strikeouts for Salem's Rylee Rogers.
In the top of the second, the Lady Seminoles looked poised to take the lead with runners on first and third with one out.
However, this time it was Newton's defense, behind the pitching of Shea McInerny, that rose to the challenge, leaving the runners stranded.
The Lady Rams scored the only run of the contest in the second inning when Sami Becker crossed the plate on a Letice Albert infield hit.
McInerny got the win with eight strikeouts while allowing two hits and no walks.
"Shea was throwing the ball really well (Monday night). I would be willing to bet that's one of her highest (strikeout) games," Newton coach Virginia Waters said. "They continue to play solid defense for me."
Hitting for Salem were Jessica Vason and Taylor Beauchamp. Defensively, Rogers allowed six hits and had two walks to go with her strikeouts.
"(Rogers) really did great (Monday). She had a lot of key strikeouts and that kept them to one run," Bassett said. "If they were to get hits together, she would come back with a key strikeout or a key ground ball out."
Beside's Becker and Albert, the other hits for Newton came from Markea Sheppard, Chaconna Marks, Val Yates and Stevie Hodges.
"We're working through that," Waters said of getting more hits. "I'm trying to mix some things up and just hope to find something that works.
"I tried to tell the girls that when you can score one run and hold it, it says a lot about you as a team. These girls just continue to surprise me day in and day out."
Manny Fils can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.