On the path to Wil­liamsport

New­ton County Lit­tle League team wins dis­trict ti­tle

The Covington News - - SPORTS - BRYAN FAZIO bfazio@cov­news.com

In its sec­ond year of ex­is­tence the New­ton County Recre­ation Com­mis­sion’s Lit­tle League team is one step closer to Wil­liamsport, Pa., and the Lit­tle League World Se­ries.

The New­ton County “Amer­i­can” 12-year-old base­ball team won the Dis­trict 10 tour­na­ment at the Bog­art Sports Com­plex in Oconee County with a 4-1 vic­tory over the Athens All Stars Mon­day.

The team was able to win all four of its games at Bog­art, open­ing with a 7-1 win over the New­ton County “National” team, de­feat­ing Gainesville 5-1 and Athens 1-0 be­fore meet­ing Athens again in the dis­trict cham­pi­onship.

In the fi­nal game of the dis­trict tour­na­ment, which started July 3 and kept get­ting pushed back due to rain, New­ton County took a 1-0 lead in the bot­tom of the third in­ning thanks to Ja­mal Boykin and Spur­gon Gaither. Boykin led off the frame with a sin­gle, stole sec­ond and was driven home on a dou­ble to the left-field fence by Gaither.

Athens an­swered in the top of the fourth and the score re­mained knot­ted at 1-1 un­til the bot­tom of the fifth.

Boykin again got on base to lead off the in­ning with a sin­gle, and Blake Wilder was hit by a pitch to put run­ners on first and sec­ond for New­ton County. Hunter Smith then stepped up to the plate, and de­liv­ered a hang­ing curve ball over the cen­ter field fence for a three-run homer and the fi­nal score.

New­ton County shut down Athens in the fi­nal half in­ning to se­cure a spot in the state tour­na­ment be­gin­ning June 19 at Rich­mond Hills in Sa­van­nah.

Smith’s power ball pro­pelled New­ton County past Athens, but it was pitch­ing that en­abled it to be so suc­cess­ful at the dis­trict level.

Jesse Calalay pitched the first four in­nings, al­low­ing just the one run, and C.J. Thomas came in in the fifth in­ning to fin­ish it out. Calalay fin­ished the tour­na­ment with an .85 ERA, con­vert­ing 74 per­cent of his 101 pitches through­out 11 in­nings for strikes.

Calalay and Thomas were two of seven pitch­ers for the New­ton County “Amer­i­can” team, which al­lowed three runs through­out the four games. New­ton County’s other pitch­ers are Boykin, Smith, Wilder, Chris­tian Davis and Chris­tian Mur­ray.

“The strength of the team is pitch­ing,” New­ton County “Amer­i­can” coach Tins­ley Bai­ley said. “We hit the ball well through­out the tour­na­ment, but not as well as I was hop­ing be­cause we faced good pitch­ing through­out the tour­na­ment.”

As a team, New­ton County had a .425 aver­age in Bog­art, and will look to im­prove on that in Sa­van­nah. The win­ner of the state tour­ney will then go on to the re­gional tour­na­ment, play-

-ing the state cham­pi­ons from Florida, Vir­ginia, Alabama and around the South. That tour­na­ment win­ner will go on to Wil­liamsport to de­ter­mine the best Lit­tle League team. It is the sec­ond year the New­ton County Recre­ation Com­mis­sion has had Lit­tle League base­ball, with last year’s team los­ing to Athens in the fi­nal of the dis­trict tour­na­ment.

Sub­mit­ted Photo /The Cov­ing­ton News

The 2013 New­ton County "Ame­rian" All Star team de­feated the Athens All Stars in the Lit­tle League Dis­trict 10 cham­pi­onship in Bog­art Mon­day.

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