Si­lence of the Rams

M.L. King claims fourth with 5-1 win

The Covington News - - Sports - By Ja­son Mur­dock

COV­ING­TON — Demarco Parham, an M.L. King High fresh­man, is some­thing spe­cial, par­tic­u­larly on the mound.

And should the south­paw con­tinue to pitch like he did against New­ton High in a cru­cial 5-1 win at River­side Park on Wed­nes­day, the Li­ons (8-11 over­all, 5-5 Re­gion 2-AAAAA) will have no prob­lems ad­vanc­ing to the post­sea­son.

“I just had to do what I had to do,” Parham said. “I knew my team was go­ing to back me up, so I just let (New­ton) hit the ball when my arm got tired.”

Parham pitched a com­plete game, lim­it­ing the Rams (712, 4-6) to just five hits and one un­earned run. He also had seven strike­outs en route to the vic­tory.

“He’s been great for us all year,” said M.L. King coach Reg­gie In­gram. “He’s had a great sea­son. If we had a lit­tle bet­ter of­fense be­hind him some days he’d have five or six more wins eas­ily.”

En­ter­ing play, both teams were tied for fourth place in the re­gion stand­ings. Ear­lier this sea­son the Li­ons edged the Rams, 12-11.

“This win makes it a lot eas­ier to make it on through,” In­gram ad­mit­ted . “ We ’ r e still def­i­nitely not in, but this makes it a lot eas­ier beat­ing a team that you’re tied with at the mo­ment.”

M. L. King struck early, get­ting three of their five hits dur­ing the first in­ning, which even­tu­ally led to two runs.

Trey Grif­fin led the charge with an RBI sin­gle, plat­ing

Ju­lian Carter who had pre­vi­ously sin­gled. Af­ter an RBI sac­ri­fice fly by Parham, the Li­ons quickly found them­selves ahead, 2-0. That was all Parham needed. Things started to worsen for the Rams dur­ing the fourth af­ter three score­less in­nings. In fact, sev­eral ques­tion­able calls fa­vor­ing the Li­ons caused New­ton coach Billy Roper to be ejected for ar­gu­ing.

“ It’s frus­trat­ing enough be­cause it’s a re­gion game and you need this to go to state,” Roper said. “You want peo­ple to just be fair. This is our pro­fes­sion; that’s why we get so se­ri­ous about it. Some­times you get um­pires who just take all the power out of your hand.

“I don’t think I was be­ing rude at first,” he added, “but then he tossed me with­out a warn­ing. We take coach­ing to heart. This is my liveli­hood. When some­one comes out here and I feel like they’re not giv­ing my kids a chance, you gotta step up and fight for them, and that’s what I felt like I was do­ing.”

The cause was cer­tainly worth fight­ing for, and it seemed to work. New­ton scored its only run of the game in the same in­ning soon af­ter Roper was tossed.

Af­ter Kin­ley Bryant dou­bled to deep cen­ter field, he later scored on an er­ror by third base­man Jar­rell Wil­liams, mak­ing it 2-1.

The Rams had their big­gest scor­ing op­por­tu­nity in the fifth in­ning when the bases were loaded with no outs; how­ever, sev­eral mis­cues caused them to come up empty.

“(Parham) did a good job,” Roper ac­knowl­edged. “He did what he had to do. We never got him rat­tled ex­cept for that one in­ning when we had the bases loaded, but we helped him out.”

M. L. King cap­i­tal­ized on the squan­dered op­por­tu­nity in the top of the sixth. Wil­liams atoned for his pre­vi­ous mis­take by jump­ing all over a first-pitch fast­ball and belt­ing an op­po­site field, three-run homer.

“That was real big for us and for (Wil­liams),” In­gram said. “He’s been up and down a lit­tle bit, but he’s start­ing to come around. We’ve got some guys with the abil­ity, and it’s late in the year so it’s time for it to show.”

Wil­liams picked a good time to hit his first home run of the sea­son.

“I’ve been in a slump lately,” Wil­liams said re­gard­ing his first homer of the sea­son, “so I’m proud to get out of it.”

The roundtrip­per stole the life out of the Rams, as they were un­able to gen­er­ate any­more of­fense in the fi­nal in­nings of ac­tion.

De­spite get­ting 14 fly-ball outs in five and two-third in­nings of work, Chris Moss was dealt the loss. Moss, who was 2-for-3 at the plate, al­lowed five runs (one earned) on five hits. He also struck out two and walked three.

“Well, Chris is some­one who’s not go­ing to strike­out 10,” Roper said, “but what he does is he hits his spots, keeps peo­ple off bal­ance and gives us a chance to win.”

Bryant pitched the fi­nal one and one-third in­nings, strik­ing out two along the way.

Com­bined, Moss and Bryant held M.L. King to a .192 bat­ting av­er­age (5-for-26). But it was their de­fense, which re­sulted in three er­rors and four un­earned runs, that si­lenced the Rams.

Next to Bryant and Moss, the only other Rams to each get a hit were Regi­nald Kelly and D.J. Hill.

“We’re fight­ing for the fourth spot,” Parham said. “We’re try­ing to go to the play­offs, (and) we got se­niors who want to win the cham­pi­onship.”

New­ton will host Redan High at 5:30 p.m. to­day.

Mandi Singer/The Cov­ing­ton News

King of the hill: New­ton’s Kin­ley Bryant de­liv­ers a pitch Wed­nes­day af­ter­noon dur­ing a 5-1 loss to M.L. King at River­side Park. Bryant struck out two in one and one-third in­nings of re­lief work.

ROPER

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