Less than two weeks ago, Northeast Jones softball boasted a perfect 6-0 record. Thursday night the Lady Tigers dropped their fifth game straight, falling short to Newton County 4-0 in Region 5-4A play. It was the second loss to the Lady Cougars this week. Tuesday night NEJ fell a run short, 4-3, at Newton County.
NEJ dropped to 6-5 overall, 3-3 in Region 5-4A. Newton County improved to 15-2 overall, 4-0 in 5-4A.
“We came out flat,” said NEJ head coach Melanie Cavenaugh. “Shelby [Anderson] had our number for Newton County. She was on, but regardless of that Amya Stevens pitched well for us. We have to find a way to get the base runners around.”
The Lady Tigers stranded six on base, five of which reached base with two outs. Cavenaugh said
“We had runners on in just about every inning,” added Cavenaugh. “We have great batting averages, but we get on with nobody else is on. It’s like we’re relaxed at the plate when the bases are empty, but we’re trying to kill the ball [when runners are on].”
Mya Stevens, Jaylen Padgett and Autumn Brashier each had two-out singles scattered throughout the night. Brashier and Anna Landrum also had hits to lead off innings, neither made it past second base after that.
Newton County scored half of its four runs in the fifth, crossing the plate on a single by Katelyn Gipson. Both runners reached base on NEJ errors earlier in the inning.
“Those were mental [mistakes],” said Cavenaugh. “Our girls just lost focus. Mya does a great job [on the rubber], and sometimes our defense gets too relaxed behind her.”
At 3-3 in Region 5-4A, the Lady Tigers are still in the playoff picture. NEJ wraps up region play with two games versus Quitman on the 9th and 11th of April.
“We lost both games with Newton County, and we split with Northeast Lauderdale, so a lot depends [on the outcome of the Newton County/Northeast Lauderdale series].
“But we do have a lot of softball left. We play Quitman in two weeks and should be fine against them, but you never know.”
The Lady Tigers play Richton Friday night at home and county rivals South Jones and West Jones on the road next week before resuming Region 5-4A play the week after next.