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Newton’s Hayden Pearson delivers a pitch against Mountain View in the first round of the Class AAAAAAA state playoffs.

LAWRENCEVILLE — Newton’s Mariah Williams found herself standing at second base with a chance to give the Rams an early lead in both games Wednesday night against Mountain View.

Both times, Williams reached after getting hit by a pitch and promptly stole second. Both times, however, the senior failed to score.

Behind two strong performances by Bears starting pitcher Sarah Currie, who combined to throw 11 innings of four-hit, one-run ball, the hosts swept the Rams 9-1, 8-0 to advance into the second round of the Class AAAAAAA state softball playoffs.

While Newton head coach Virginia Tucker-Smith expected a tough battle against Mountain View, the visabally disappointed coach never imagined losing by run-rule in both games.

“I never in a million years thought that we would have come up here and get run-ruled two games,” Tucker-Smith said. “There was no doubt in my mind that we could have played with this team. That team didn’t show up tonight.”

If the whole Newton team shows up, we can play with anybody. But if only one part of it shows up, we’re going to have a tough time.”

Mountain View’s Game 1 victory in five innings saw Currie work out of a first-inning jam. With Williams standing on second with one out, the senior was doubled up by Currie after catching a soft pop up from Ty’Liyah Hardeman before throwing to second for the third out.

Already leading the Rams 1-0 after two innings, an Ahmari Braden solo home run to right doubled the Bears lead before a Lauren Evens SAC fly to center extended their lead to 3-0 in the fourth.

With the Rams struggling to time up Currie at the plate, who struck out eight of the nine batters she faced in innings 2-4, Newton catcher Kaitlyn Neely broke through with her first home run of the season, a no-doubter to left to cut the lead to 3-1.

Newton’s Katelynn Anglin followed with a single to center with one out, but the Rams were later retired without scoring another run.

Looking to get the run back, the Bears did just that and then some in the bottom of the fifth. The first five Bears reached base safely in the inning with the hosts receiving back-to-back 2-RBI doubles from Kaylee George and Lexie Simonton to extend their lead to 7-1.

Evens then doubled home a run before Braden ended the game with a single into left.

“Tonight, I told them that they might not get 3-4-5 at-bats to adjust,” Tucker-Smith said. “You’re going to have to adjust in that first at-bat. We just couldn’t get adjusted in that first game and (Mountain View) adjusted really quickly. It’s a game of adjustments.”

In Game 2, the Rams came within inches of taking an early 1-0 lead. With Neely at the plate with two outs and Williams standing on second, the sophomore was robbed of extra bases by the Mountain View left fielder, who made a diving stop to end the inning.

After tallying three RBIs in Game 1, Mountain View’s Evens carried over her strong bat into Game 2 and blasted a 2-run home run to straightaway center field to open the scoring for the Bears in the third inning.

With two outs, Simonton extended the Bears’ lead to 4-0 on a single to center on the first pitch of the at-bat.

Trailing 6-0 heading into the bottom of the fifth, a Kyla Stroud single to right-center broke up a no-hitter for Currie, who had allowed only Williams to reach base safely up until that point.

Newton starting pitcher Hayden Pearson followed up Stroud’s single with one of her own, but the Rams were set down in order with Currie adding two more strikeouts to her name.

The Bears went on to win the game 8-0 in six innings with Currie allowing two hits while striking out nine.

No Ram recorded more than one hit on the night while the Bears tagged Pearson for 11 hits in Game 1 and 12 in Game 2. Evens finished the doubleheader 4-for-5 with a home run, two doubles and five RBIs to pace the Bears.

“Had we adjusted a little better, you never know, “Tucker-Smith said. “(Mountain View) is a good team and I wish them the best. Hopefully they win state so that we know we got beat by the state champions.”

In order to move past the first round, we’re going to have to play that type of ball next year. Hopefully my underclassmen can get it and there’s enough want from them to get us past this hump that always seems to get us.”

Sports Editor

A 2017 graduate of the University of North Georgia, Colin joined the Rockdale/Newton Citizen in March of 2018 as the papers' full-time sports editor. A 2013 graduate of Jackson County High School, Colin received a golf scholarship to Andrew College.