Rams strug­gle head­ing into Luella matchup

The Covington News - - Sports - BRYAN FAZIO Sports Ed­i­tor

Go­ing into a matchup against one of the best teams in the state is not an ideal time to be strug­gling.

How­ever, that's ex­actly where the New­ton base­ball team finds it­self.

The Rams (6-9, 2-4 Re­gion 2-AAAAA) have lost three straight, al­low­ing a com­bined 41 runs. New­ton has also strug­gled with the bat af­ter fall­ing 11-10 to Archer on March 14. It has since lost 12-2 to East Coweta on Fri­day and was shutout 8-0 to West­lake Tues­day.

The Rams to­day host Luella, a team that is ranked third in the state and sits atop the re­gion with a 6-0 record.

“Luella is a stout team,” New­ton coach Vince Byams said. “They prob­a­bly have some of the top pitch­ers we’re go­ing to see this year.”

Those pitch­ers come at an in­con­ve­nient time for New­ton, which can’t find its bats.

“The last two games,

pretty much our bats have gone quiet since the Archer game,” Byams said. “We’ve had two runs in two games, that’s not go­ing to win you a whole lot of games.”

Against East Coweta the Rams had eight run­ners in scor­ing po­si­tion dur­ing the game and couldn’t muster more than two runs. Against West­lake Tues­day, both teams strug­gled, with just three hits com­bined.

The Rams have been able to score at points through­out the sea­son, putting up 15 runs against South­west Dekalb and Langston Hughes, but other than an out­burst against Archer have strug­gled at times.

Byams at­tributes it to the teams’ youth.

“It’s al­most like we’re go­ing through a lit­tle bit of grow­ing pains,” Byams said.

A ma­jor­ity of the Rams 13 play­ers are un­der­class­men, who have had trou­ble shak­ing off their strug­gles.

“We have young play­ers and we just need a men­tal­ity of shak­ing off er­rors and mis­takes,” Byams said. “Even in a loss we need to come back and fight. We have 15 and 16 year olds who need to make ad­just­ments to var­sity play and bounce back real quick.”

Byams is hop­ing his few se­niors can step up and lead the younger play­ers dur­ing the sec­ond half of the sea­son.

The Rams cur­rently sit one game out of fourth place in the re­gion, the final play­off spot, with eight re­gion games left. Af­ter trav­el­ing to Luella, New­ton hosts M.L. King Tues­day, a team it beat on March 2 and then trav­els to Stephen­son on March 30, a team it lost to 5-4 on March 6.

“We just have to com­pete,” Byams said. We have to com­pete with ev­ery team we play form here on out.”

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