By Rocky Higginbotham / Special to The Star
The Meridian Star
Newton County and Clarkdale are without a doubt two of the area's most tradition-rich softball programs. So it's only fitting the pair joined together to give a little something back to the community.
In the first of two planned charity events this season, Newton County pulled away late to whip Clarkdale 11-3 Tuesday night on "Strike Out Cancer" night at Clarkdale.
Clarkdale coach Britt Bennett said he and Newton County coach Justin Chaney first discussed doing something a little extra special during the summer.
"We talked this summer and both really wanted to do something for a good cause," Bennett said. "We both wanted to give something back to the community and I don't think there's a better way to do it."
Both teams wore special "Strike Out Cancer" t-shirt jerseys for Tuesday's game. Clarkdale eighth-grader Jordan Harbour threw out a ceremonial first pitch. All of the proceeds from the concession stand will be donated to the Blair E. Batson Hospital for Children — and the same thing is scheduled to happen again when Clarkdale returns a trip to Newton County Oct. 5.
"I think it's a fantastic cause and I think we probably did pretty well just judging from the size of the crowd," Chaney said. "You know there's always going to be a good crowd when Newton County and Clarkdale play and tonight, they got to get together for a good cause."
On the field, the Lady Cougars (3-0) got a two-run homer from RoNeisha Brown in the top of the first inning and never trailed. But Bennett's Lady Bulldogs (1-2) did make things interesting.
Newton County got two runs in the first and one each in the second and third innings to build a 4-0 lead. Clarkdale cut it to 4-3 in the bottom of the third thanks to an RBI single by Breanna Ivy and a two-run single from Heather Harwell.
But the Lady Dogs could do no further damage, and Newton County pulled away in the sixth and seventh frames.
Two Clarkdale errors and base hits from Latesia Davis and Hannah May led to three runs in the sixth to push Newton County ahead 7-3.
In the seventh, the Lady Cougars scored four runs, getting extra-base hits from Shea Alexander and Lindsey Savell.
"We didn't get a lot of the two-out hits that we preach," Chaney said of his team, which stranded 14 runners. "But we got enough."
Davis was 3-for-5 with four runs scored; Alexander was 3-for-5 with two doubles and three RBIs; and Savell was 3-for-5 with a double and two RBIs to pace Newton County.
Mary Snowden also had three hits and had two RBIs; Brown finished 1-for-1 with four intentional passes and three runs; and Meagan Higginbotham (3-0) was the winning pitcher.
Clarkdale had nine base hits — all singles — with Anna Guin collecting three. Molly McCleod (1-2) was the losing pitcher.
Clarkdale goes to Lake Thursday, while Newton County hosts rival West Lauderdale the same day in its next action.