COVINGTON -- Errors, walks and the inability to handle the bunt, along with not being able to hit the ball, put Newton's playoff seeding on shaky ground after losing to Lovejoy 13-2 in five innings on Tuesday.
"We're still in third place," Newton head coach Vince Byams said. "Lovejoy is a game behind us and Rockdale is a game behind Lovejoy. We still need to win the other region games. Any game we play in the region is going to be big for us."
The Rams (7-11, 5-3 Region 2-AAAAAA) committed six errors on defense and gave up seven walks. Newton only had one hit in the game as Lovejoy (7-7, 4-3) pitcher Drew Nicholson struck out five batters. Even though Mason Callaway had Newton's only hit, the Rams still had a few base runners as they got on base four times on walks, once when M.J. Boykin was hit by a pitch, once on an error and a fielder's choice.
The Rams started the game in complete control after a double play started by Allen Bowen to end any threat the Wildcats may have thought they had.
Newton got on the scoreboard in its half of the first inning with Callaway driving in Boykin before a Bowen sacrifice fly plated Callaway to make it 2-0.
But Lovejoy quickly rebounded, scoring five runs on three hits. The Wildcats took advantage of Newton's mistakes with the first run scoring on a wild pitch. Lovejoy started playing small ball, bunting to move the runners over and on suicide squeeze steals. Of the four Lovejoy bunts, three resulted in the batter on base either beating out the throw or on an error.
Having success in the second inning playing small ball, the Wildcats continued to do the same in the third, scoring six times to make it 11-2.
Lovejoy took an 11-run lead in the fifth inning when a couple of walks combined with a couple of hits to plate two runners.
"Walks and bunts helped them capitalize the five runs they got. Then some timely hits on their side and we didn't make the plays behind the pitching. We have to do a better job," Byams said.
The Rams will try to turn their game around on Friday against Druid Hills.
"We still have opportunities to make it to state," Byams said. "We just have to go out there and play well on Friday."