Newton girls top Salem in close contest

CONYERS - Newton was able to put together a string of three hits in the top of the seventh inning, leading to a 2-0 win over Salem on Monday.

Both teams finished with four hits, but the Lady Seminoles' were spread out.

"They didn't hit a whole bunch. They had a one here and there," Newton coach Virginia Waters said. "If they want to keep them spotty, that's fine by me."

With the game scoreless through six innings, the Lady Rams' Markea Sheppard got a hit in the top of the seventh. After advancing to second base on a wild pitch, she advanced to third on a Chaconna Marks ground out. Zhandria Usher's fielder's choice allowed Sheppard to beat the throw to the plate.

Newton made it 2-0 when a Stevie Hodges double plated Chermisha Roberts.

"They got a couple of good solid hits, but that ball hit to the outfield I do expect to be caught," Salem coach Stephanie Bassett said.

Salem's defense and solid pitching by Rylee Rogers kept the Newton bats silent for most of the night. Rogers struck out eight and walked one to go along with the four hits she allowed.

"She's really the core of the defense. When she's on, and usually she is, the defense responds. I can't ask any more from her," Bassett said.

Roberts also had a hit in the seventh. Marks hit a double in the fourth.

"Our problem, and it has been all year long, is that it takes us too long to adjust (to the pitcher)," Waters said. "We've got to come out swinging but also laying off the junk. One of our things is when I tell them to adjust, they want to want to swing at everything. We really have to work on being more selective."

Hitting for Salem were Jessica Vason (first inning), Stephanie Brassard (third) and Rogers (seventh), with Tori Beauchamp getting a double in the fourth.

"When you say we're not really hitting, that's an understatement," Bassett said. "'Not hitting at all' is more appropriate. I told them the same thing I tell them every game: The biggest number you can get is a zero if you're not hitting. You can play the best defense in the world, and if you're not hitting it really doesn't matter."

Getting the win in the circle for Newton was Shea McInerny, who struck out five and didn't walk anyone.

"I'm so proud of the girls. Again, we have a solid defense and we're lucky enough to have a defense that can help us through our hitting lows sometimes," Waters said. "This team has not given up on a game yet. That's really something to say about them."

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