By Rocky Higginbotham / Special to The Star
The Meridian Star
Northeast Lauderdale and Newton County locked horns in a solid pitcher’s duel for four-and-a-half innings here Thursday night in a Division 5-4A fast-pitch softball matchup.
But in the bottom of the fifth, the wheels came off for the visiting Lady Trojans at Mack Fanning Softball Stadium.
Newton County scored eight times in the bottom of the fifth, topping Northeast 11-1 in a rout-shortened contest between playoff hopefuls.
“That’s what they are capable of,” Northeast coach SeanGerald said of Newton County’s eight-run explosion, which included six hits, two errors, two wild pitches, a hit batsman and five unearned runs.
“We were right there with them ... really shouldn’t have given them their first couple of runs. But that’s what good teams do, they take advantage of what you give them.”
Newton County ran its record to 12-2 overall and 2-0 in division play, while Northeast fell to 10-5 and 0-2.
The Lady Cougars scored their first run without putting a ball in play; had two runs before they had a hit; and were limited to just one hit through the first four innings by Northeast pitcher Brittany Baty.
“We got a couple runs early that maybe we shouldn’t have, and thank goodness, because that kept us afloat until we started hitting in that fifth,” Newton County coach Justin Chaney said. “Hey, (Baty) is good. They’re a good team and they probably should have been ahead of us before that fifth inning.”
In the first inning, Ashton Lampton turned a leadoff walk into a run, scoring all the way from first base when a mixup on a stolen base attempt sent the throw into center field. In the second, Savannah Gates was hit by a pitch and took second on a passed ball. She was sacrificed to third on a bunt by Dalmerika King, and she scored after a passed ball on a strikeout drew a throw to first base.
Newton County’s first hit came in the third, when Darby Bishop’s double plated Latesia Davis, who had walked.
Northeast cut it to 3-1 in the fifth and had a chance for more.
Olivia Scarbrough had a one-out single and scored on a double by Kaytee Nelson –– who was thrown out trying to stretch it into a triple.
Nelson had a double and her team’s only RBI, Baty tripled and Scarbrough and Xaviayah Cole had the Lady Trojan’s other hits.
Baty took the loss, striking out four, walking four and giving up five earned runs.
Newton County’s eight-run fifth got started with a base hit from Lampton, a single from Davis and a two-run double from Bishop; and it also included a single from Gates, a double from Hannah May and a walkoff triple from Davis.
Davis and Bishop combined to go 4-for-6 with three extra-base hits for Newton County, with Davis scoring twice and Bishop driving in three.
Lampton had one hit and three runs scored, Gates had a hit, an RBI and two runs and May had her RBI double.
Bishop (7-1) earned the victory, giving up just four hits while striking out five.
Newton County is slated to go to Enterprise Saturday, while Northeast Lauderdale is set to face both Kosciusko and Choctaw Central at Choctaw.