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Newton rolls past Stockbridge on diamond

Newton’s Mason Callaway lines out to third base in the first inning of Wednesday’s game against Stockbridge. Staff photo by Kurt Aschermann Jr.

Newton’s Mason Callaway lines out to third base in the first inning of Wednesday’s game against Stockbridge. Staff photo by Kurt Aschermann Jr.

There were strong wind gusts throughout Wednesday’s baseball game between Newton and Stockbridge. But with the way the Rams were pitching and hitting, it didn’t matter much at all.

Alex Johnson and Allen Bowen combined on a one-hit shutout and the Rams broke things open with a huge third inning in a 14-0 victory in five innings.

Newton was up 4-0 heading into the third, and though the weather conditions were far from comfortable, the Covington school’s lead on the scoreboard grew more and more safe. Facing starter and losing pitcher Alberto Vargas, Shawn Guckenberger and Tristan McInerny started the inning with singles and after a pop out, Auliver Astin walked to load the bases. Johnson followed with a rope, three-run triple to the opposite field that put the Rams up 7-0. A walk to Grant Burroughs chased Vargas, and five consecutive batters reached base against reliever Chris McKenzie with Guckenberger capping the seven-run inning with a sacrifice fly.

“Wind blowing like it was, I didn’t think they’d hit the ball the way they did. They dealt with it pretty good,” Newton coach Andre Byrd said.

That was more than enough run support for Johnson, who got to six three-ball counts but ultimately allowed just two walks and a single to Nathan Greene in three innings. Allen Bowen surrendered a walk over the final two innings to preserve the abbreviated shutout.

“Our pitching has been a strength all year long and they continue to do the same thing,” Byrd said.

Newton jumped on top with a four-run second against Vargas. Joshua Prince doubled with one out and Astin’s opposite field single chased home Prince with the first run of the night. After Johnson walked, Montravious Boykin doubled in a run and Mason Callaway’s two-run single made it a 4-0 game.

“What’s been happening, our (pitchers) kind of start slow (and) we usually come in and hit the ball pretty good. Once they start pitching with a lead they’re a little more comfortable,” Byrd said. “I’ve been putting the emphasis on lately…hitting to the opposite field. Now that they’re buying into doing that, they’re putting some runs on the board. In past years they’ve been on that side, losing 14-0, they love being on the other side.”

Newton will return to the Region 2-AAAAAA action Friday in a 5:30 p.m. at county rival Alcovy.