New­ton Knights win first base­ball tour­na­ment

Lo­cal squad tops Mud­cats to win first an­nual tour­na­ment

The Covington News - - Sports - By Alan Howard

MCDONOUGH — The New­ton Knights, a newly or­ga­nized 11 and un­der travel base­ball team, were crowned cham­pi­ons Sun­day dur­ing the first an­nual USSSA “ Let’s Get It Started”11 U AA boy’s base­ball tour­na­ment at Her­itage Park.

The event — orig­i­nally a dou­ble elim­i­na­tion tour­na­ment that be­gan Satur­day — had to can­cel play be­cause of poor field con­di­tions due to the rain. In­stead there was pool play seed­ing and sin­gle elim­i­na­tion play the fol­low­ing day.

The Knights are coached by Leroy James, Terry Ballard and Mark Clark. The play­ers in­clude Hunter Ballard, Jalen Martin, Ben­jamin Moses, J.L. Banks, John Wells, A.J. Howard, Gar­rett Witcher, Hunter Clark, Ross Kirk­patrick, Evan House, Yorel James and Casey Palmer. Team Mom is Gay Clark.

New­ton’s first vic­tory was against the McDonough OTC Braves, 9-8. They won af­ter a strong pitch­ing per­for­mance by Kirk­patrick, who threw a com­plete game (six in­nings, 89 pitches).

House, Witcher, Ballard, Howard and Moses bat­ted a solid .500 against the Braves. Howard and Moses each col­lected dou­bles along the way.

The Knights’ sec­ond vic­tory was a 5-4 over the Thomas­ton War­riors. This time it was Clark who pitched a com­plete game (six in­nings, 86 pitches).

Moses and Banks led New­ton with a .667 av­er­age against the War­riors. Howard, Kirk­patrick (dou­ble), Clark and Wells hit for .500. Martin and Ballard each hit .333.

In the third game of the day, New­ton beat Elite At­tack, 8-3. James pitched a com­plete game (five in­nings, 76 pitches) and had an earned run av­er­age of 2.80. Wells led the team with a 1.000 bat­ting av­er­age (2-for-2). Banks hit .500, in­clud­ing a dou­ble.

The cham­pi­onship game ended at 11:30 p.m. with the Knights win­ning the tour­na­ment against the Fayette Mud­cats, 7-6.

New­ton jumped out to an early six-run lead in the first in­ning with some ag­gres­sive third base coach­ing by Coach James.

Af­ter the strong start, the Knights had to hold off a me­thod­i­cal rally by the Mud­cats, which ended with the win­ning run scor­ing in the top of the sixth and strong de­fen­sive play by the in­field in the bot­tom half of the in­ning.

Ballard started the game with Moses com­ing in re­lief. James, Moses and Wells led the team with .500 bat­ting av­er­ages. Ballard and Martin each hit .333.

Through­out the en­tire tour­na­ment, New­ton pitch­ers com­bined for a 3.65 ERA.

Of­fen­sively, Wells had the hottest bat, av­er­ag­ing .571 at the plate. Moses and Banks hit .500 apiece. Howard bat­ted .400, while Ballard hit .333 over­all.

In ad­di­tion, Moses scored six runs and stole 11 bases. Martin fol­lowed with five runs and 12 stolen bases.

Coach James was very ex­cited about the win against a team like the Fayette Mud­cats, es­pe­cially this early for the New­ton Knights who have only com­peted in two tour­na­ments.

Their first tour­na­ment, which was held ear­lier this year in Mon­roe, re­sulted in a sec­ond place fin­ish.

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