Alcovy catcher Quinton Grizzard (left) waits for the ball as Newton’s Phillip Rowe crosses the plate to give the Rams the lead. Newton beat Alcovy 6-1. (Staff photo: Manny Fils)
COVINGTON — Five errors in the fifth inning caused the Tigers to implode as Newton took advantage of the situation scoring four runs in their 6-1 win in a crucial Region 2-AAAAAA matchup on Tuesday.
“I guess it’s what you call a winning mentality. We, at Newton, are normally on the other side of the mistakes,” Newton head coach Andre Byrd said. “It’s funny to be on the side where we actually capitalize on them and expect them to win.”
Things started going badly for Alcovy (7-12, 3-5) in the bottom of the fifth when they put Alex Johnson on first base by hitting the batter.
After an passed ball and an allowed the runner to make it to third base, the Rams (13-8, 8-2) took the lead on a sacrifice fly by Tristan McInerny to make it 2-1.
A sacrifice bunt turned into a run on a throwing error allowing Grant Burroughs to make it second base while Joshua Prince scored. Newton got their only legitimate run of the inning off a MJ Boykin single. The Rams made it 5-1 on an Allen Bowen sacrifice fly. Newton had the opportunity to add a few more runs on the scoreboard as they had the bases full before Alcovy’s Brayden Ergle tagged the runner for the final out of the inning.
“We kind of let it snowball,” Alcovy head coach Ryan Denison said. “Dalton (Reagin) pitched a really good game, we just couldn’t hit the ball.”
Reagin pitched the first three innings before being relieved. In his time on the mound, Reagin had four strikeouts while not allowing a hit or a walk.
Things started a little shaky for Newton to start the game after a walk and a passed ball allowed Austin Richardson to reach third base with no outs.
But Rams pitcher Shawn Guckenberger was able to strikeout two batters while throwing another out at first base leaving Richardson stranded.
“Like I said at the beginning of the year, my pitching is going to be our strength this year. We’re so deep that guys get ample rest,” Byrd said. “They can go two or three weeks without pitching and they come out ready to throw. I think he had a no hitter (after five innings), he pitched a gem.”
Guckenberger threw six innings striking out five batters while giving up one hit and walking two.
Newton took a 1-0 lead in the first inning when Boykin, who reached on an error, made it home on a Bowen sacrifice fly.
Alcovy took advantage of a Newton miscue in the fourth allowing Nanpon Ross to tie the game.
The Rams added one more run in the sixth before Levi Langford came in to close the game.
“We kind of clinched it (region championship) but a win against Morrow on Friday will really do it,” Byrd said. “We owe them one.”
The Rams, who suffered their second region loss at the hands of the Mustangs, will settle the score for a 5-4 loss at home as they travel to Morrow on Friday for a 5:30 p.m. game while the Tigers try to keep their playoff hopes alive at Luella on Friday with a 5:30 p.m. start.