The Newport Lady Greypup Softball team split a pair of games on Monday, March 26th in the NEA Jr. High Softball League of Jonesboro.
In the first game, the Lady Pups bats were alive with 14 hits in just three innings of play. The Lady Pups scored seven runs in the first, three in the second and five in the third to beat Walnut Ridge 15-6. Four Newport hitters had multiple hits, which included Emilee Addington, Jazzy Baker, Abbie Nation and Tyriona Watkins, each went two for two. Addington contributed a home run and two RBIs. Hannah Nicholson had a triple with an RBI, Faith McCullar executed a perfect hit and run to drive in another run and Keylei Henderson added a double. Addington secured the win from the circle four innings giving up four hits, striking out four and walking two. "This was probably the best offensively executed game that I have been a part of out of our teams. I was proud of the aggressiveness." States Coach Kevin Pearce.
The second game pitted the Lady Pups against arguably the best junior high softball team in the state, the McCrory Lady Jaguars. "McCrory is another one of those blessed communities with a lot of talent in one age group. This McCrory team also travels and consistently wins the top travel tournaments in the state. The game against them shows a picture of where we are as a team,” states Coach Pearce.
The Lady Greypups made solid contact throughout the game, but achieved only three hits off the sound McCrory defense. Emilee Addington led the way for the Pups with two hits. "Emi has a wonderful story and she takes nothing for granted. She plays and practices with everything she has. We have waited for her to break out and I think she did tonight,” states Pearce. Hannah Nicholson added the other hit for the Pups. In the first inning, Newport dropped a fly ball in foul territory that would have gotten them out of the inning with no runs given up. The same McCrory batter made the Pups pay for the mistake with a hard single to the outfield which drove in the first run of the game. McCrory led 1-0 at the end of the first. McCrory put another run up in the second inning after a dropped fly ball in the outfield by Newport. The dropped fly allowed the batter on base and eventually scored on a fielder’s choice. "Good teams take advantage of mistakes every single time. To beat top teams, we have to make the easy outs." The Lady Pups trailed 2-0 at the end of the third. The Lady Pups were ready in the fourth inning to make a comeback. Nicholson led off the inning with an infield single, Addington followed with a single and Jazzy Baker walked to load the bases with no outs. As soon as the next Newport batter stepped into the box, the time had expired on the drop-dead time format and the game ended. "Wow, what a tough way to lose a game!” exclaims Pearce. “That game will haunt me for a while. There is no doubt in my mind we would have tied or taken the lead in the game in the fourth inning. What this game has told us that we are also one of the best junior high teams around. We are committed to getting better in order to prove it." Nicholson had another stellar performance in the circle giving up three hits, striking out six and not walking a batter in three innings of work.
The Lady Greypups return to action Friday, April 6 at George Kell Park against Southside. Game time is set for 4:30 pm.