Newton freshman pitcher Brittany Ellis was able to get out of the inning with two runners in scoring position.
Powell’s run would be the only run for either team for a while. Both pitchers were dealing up until the bottom of the fifth when the momentum shifted to the Lady Rams.
Newton’s offense came alive in the fifth with a little help from the Lady Eagles. With two runners on and only one out, surprisingly, it was a passed ball at home that led to Newton’s first score. The Lady Rams followed that up with an RBI double to give Newton its first lead of the game, 2-1.
Wood made a pitching change that had a significant impact on the rest of the game when she brought Caitlin Ray in for Molly Moon.
Because there must be balance in the world, the Lady Rams couldn’t go without making some mistakes of their own, which let the Lady Eagles back into the game.
On what should have been a standard pop out, miscommunication turned into two players colliding with each other as the ball fell to the ground and the runner reached second base. Soon after, a fly ball from Ray landed just on the inside of the foul line too far from the right fielder, putting runners at the corners.
If running into each other wasn’t enough, with runners at the corners, a second base steal attempt prompted the catcher to go for the out allowing the runner on third to score. A bad throw at second then allowed the other runner to come in, putting the Lady Eagles up 3-2.
“Not communicating. Not doing the things that we practice,” coach Ashley Coles said when asked about the miscommunica- tions on defense. “When things get tough and the pressure is on, you have to play at a higher level. You can’t let it get to you and I think sometimes that’s what happens when you have such a young class out there.”
“Brittany pitched a really good game. Especially as a freshman, coming out in such a good game with that little pressure that comes with playing a cross-town rival. I think she came out poised, I thought she threw well. I think threw good enough to win,” Coles said. “We gave them a few runs, and I think everyone in this stadium and area knows it. They know it. They played hard, we played hard. They came out in the end.”
With the lead came cheers from Eastside’s dugout. A bus driver, who had been cheering on Eastside all game to the displeasure of Newton fans, led Eastside in a cheer based off the popular rap song “No flex zone.” After the bus driver yelled, “No flex,” the East- side players tuned in for a loud, “Zone!”
Ray shut the game down from that point on. Newton couldn’t manage any offense with Ray on the mound and the Lady Eagles flew off to a 5-2 victory.
“I thought she (Molly Moon) threw well. I felt like Molly kept us in the game. I felt like we didn’t help her offensively,” Wood said. “I thought Molly did great. I thought Caity-Ray came in and did a good job closing for us. “
Wood added that with Ray’s speed, the last three innings are the perfect spot for her.
“I think that Caitlin had a little bit more speed than Molly,” Coles said. “They both are really good pitchers. I have respect for them, but we gave them a lot of outs swinging at pitches that weren’t strikes. And I think that was nothing but mental because she was throwing a little harder. Our girls got up there and got anxious.” Newton’s Freshman pitcher Brittany Ellis was taken out of the game in the seventh inning after nearly pitching a complete game. But the damage was done and the Lady Rams weren’t able to climb back into the game, falling 5-2 to Eastside.