Newton’s Victor Medina (12) checks looks at the umpire to see if he was safe at a close play at the plate as Morrow catcher Kaquan Clark applies the game in Wednesday’s game. (Staff photo: Manny Fils)
COVINGTON — A badly played third inning by Newton allowed Morrow to score three runs as the Rams broke their four-game win streak with their 5-4 loss on Wednesday.
It’s not that Newton committed errors in the third inning that allowed the Mustangs to take a 3-0 lead, it was their lack of focus that allowed Morrow to score while preventing the Rams to put up a few runs of their own.
“It didn’t come down to the third inning, it came down to not being ready to win,” Newton head coach Andre Byrd said. “We weren’t ready in the classroom, we had some problems, and we had problems when we came out here. We weren’t focused.”
The Rams started the bottom of the first with a triple only. However, the runner got thrown out at the base while trying to get back after the ball was overthrown.
Another mental error came in the sixth inning when the runner was thrown out at the plate. Rather than heading home on contact following an infield hit, the runner hesitated allowing Morrow shortstop Josh Lowery time to field the ball and throw the ball home for the out.
Morrow took advantage of every chance Newton gave them in the third inning scoring. Newton’s defenders waited for slow hits to get to them rather than attacking the ball resulting in a run. The Mustangs also scored on a balk with a runner on third.
“I liked that I was right in the aspect of letting them know they had to be focused coming here ready to play and if they weren’t this is what would happen. But I hate that it happened,” Byrd said. “We played down to the competition and I’ve told the guys when you just can’t do it.”
The Rams closed the gap in the fifth inning on an Allen Bowen home run. They closed that gap a little bit more in the sixth as Joshua Prince scored on an Alex Johnson single.
Morrow was able to get those two runs back in the seventh on one swing of the bat when A.J. Nettles cleared the fence.
Bowen made it 5-3 in the home half of the last inning when he crossed the plate on a throwing error by the catcher while trying to catch him stealing. Another error allowed Prince to score before the Mustangs got the final out to hold on for the win.
“It shouldn’t have gotten to that point,” Byrd said about having to come back from behind. “We have a problem with the coaching in that they win a little bit and they don’t stay humble and hungry enough to take care of business. As the coach it’s a problem that I know I have to work on.”