Rockdale catcher Davis Foster (2) tags Newton’s Daniel Croom out before he gets a chance to cross the plate in the first inning of the game on Monday. (Staff photo: Manny Fils)
COVINGTON — A passed by allowed Newton’s Phillip Rowe to tie the game in the bottom of the fifth inning while Allen Bowen shut down the Rockdale offense on the mound giving the Rams a 6-5 win on Monday.
“It was a tough game but that’s how baseball is,” Rockdale head coach Justin Arrington said. “You have to be in the game every pitch. If you’re not these things come back to bite you. You have to make the routine plays. If you can’t make the routine plays then we’re going to be in situations like that.”
The Rams (10-8 overall, 5-2 in Region 2-AAAAAA play) trailed 5-4 before Bowen got a double to get on base. After Rowe came in as a courtesy runner, he was able to advance to third on a ground out before scoring on the pass ball. The ball did not travel far away from Bulldogs (9-9, 3-4) catcher Davis Foster but it was far enough for Rowe to decided to head home.
“He was determined to score,” Newton head coach Andre Byrd said. “I’m happy for him and the team because he was safe. But he had it made up in his mind that if it (ball) went by (the catcher) at any time he was going to go. He made an excellent play and got his hand in there before the tag. We know runs are hard to come by so we get them anyway we can.”
The Rams had tried to get the runner across the plate two other times on close plays but were tagged out in the attempts by Foster. They first tried in the first inning and then again in the sixth.
“I burned one earlier so it was that type of ball game. I’ll try to do anything to get the run across the plate,” Byrd said.
The Rams were able to jump out to an early 2-0 lead in the first inning before Rockdale tied the game in the top of the third. Rockdale scored on sacrifice fly’s by Jeff Sweat and Terrell McLaughlin to plate Will Hardy and Malachi Eskin.
After a Josh Prince single plated Daniel Croom allowing the Rams to retake the lead in the home half of the third, Rockdale responded with three run in the fourth making it 5-3.
Newton pitcher Kenny Glover allowed seven hits and four walks while striking out one batter in four innings of work.
“Our starting pitcher didn’t have his best stuff but he fought as hard as he could. He had been on the shelf for a while so I didn’t expect him to go long. But he did the job,” Byrd said. “Then AB came in and did a real good job.”
Newton closed the gap with a run in the fourth before Rowe tied the game in the fifth. Newton’s final and winning run came in the sixth when a double by MJ Boykin gave Mason Calloway the opportunity to score from second base.
In his three innings of work, Bowen allowed one hit and one walk while striking out five batters.
“Allen really hasn’t pitched during his career here at Newton,” Byrd said. “But he wants the ball and when he gets it he lets it fly.”
Newton combined for eight hits with Boykin and Glover getting two hits each. Pacing the Bulldogs at the plate were two of their seven hits was Jelani Clarington.
Newton’s next game is Tuesday, April 8 at Lovejoy with Rockdale hosting Salem on Thursday.