Sher­man leads Rams in rout

The Covington News - - Sports - BEAU MCCRANIE Sports Writer

The New­ton Rams started off the sec­ond half of re­gion play with a 9-1 vic­tory over MLK at New­ton High Tues­day night.

The Rams played solid de­fense be­hind Sher­man Graves, who got the com­plete-game vic­tory.

Graves scat­tered five hits and two walks, while com­pil­ing nine strike­outs over seven in­nings. The top four hit­ters in the Rams’ lineup had six of their seven hits, provid- ing of­fense for Graves.

With pitch­ing and hit­ting work­ing well for the Rams, though, it was the de­fense that shined for the first time in sev­eral games to se­cure the wide mar­gin of vic­tory.

“Al­low­ing only two walks and com­mit­ting only one er­ror was key for us tonight,” New­ton coach Vin­cent Byams said. “The abil­ity for us to put the ball in play al­lowed us to put pres­sure on their de­fense.”

Af­ter Graves shut down

MLK in the top of the first af­ter their first two run­ners reached base, New­ton’s Jeremy Laguins led off the bot­tom of the in­ning with a sin­gle to cen­ter and ad­vanced to third on wild pitches. With one out, Ryan McCranie walked and stole sec­ond.

The throw to sec­ond went through into cen­ter field and Laguins scored the Rams first run.

Allen Bowen struck out on a ball in the dirt, but was heady enough to hus­tle down to first and reach base on an­other over-throw by MLK’S catcher.

Mccranie scored on the play and the Rams had a 2-0 lead.

In the bot­tom of the sec­ond catcher Floyd El­lis walked and moved to sec­ond on Keon Matthews sac­ri­fice bunt. Laguins reached based on a walk, but was cut down steal­ing.

A walk to Daniel Croom and in­field sin­gles by McCranie and Allen Bowen helped pro­duce three more runs to up the Ram lead to 5-0.

In the top of the fourth MLK scored their lone run on two hits, but a div­ing catch in cen­ter with two outs by Croom pre­vented fur­ther dam­age.

An­other div­ing catch, this time by Keon Matthews, ended the top of the fifth in sim­i­lar fash­ion.

Coach Byams pointed out, “those catches by Croom and Matthews pre­vented MLK from com­ing up with mo­men­tum chang­ers at that point in the game.”

The Rams put up two more runs in their half of the fourth. Laguins again drew a walk and Bowen dou­bled to left-cen­ter. With two outs, Graves grounded sharply to short, but the short­stop made an er­ror on the play and the lead stretched to 7-1.

New­ton posted an un­earned run in the fifth and then added their final run in the sixth on a Croom sin­gle and a McCranie dou­ble.

Graves fin­ished strong, strik­ing out two of the three MLK hit­ters in the sev­enth to close out the game.

The win im­proved New­ton’s record to 3-5 in re­gion play and 7-10 over­all.

A big game looms on the hori­zon Fri­day at Stephen­son and then the Rams take off a week for spring break.

Beau Mccranie/ The Cov­ing­ton News

Sher­man Graves pitched a com­plete game in for the Rams in New­ton’s 9-1 win over MLK on Tues­day night.

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