In a game that was win or go home, Newton players showed their heart and resiliency.
Newton held off Tualatin Hills, Ore., winning the pool play finale today by a score of 5-1 at the 14-year-old Babe Ruth World Series in Glen Allen, Va.
“The team responded really well to the pressure,” said Mike Freire, field manager for Newton.
Newton has won three straight in the World Series, finishing with a 3-1 record in pool play and securing a spot in the tournament’s single elimination semifinal game on Friday.
Newton clinched the first seed in the American Division of the Babe Ruth World Series, earning a bye in the tournament quarterfinals. Had Newton lost today, their season would have came to an end.
Newton was unable to score until the fourth inning, however, according to the Babe Ruth World Series website. Newton pitcher Zeke Berg threw his second complete game in a row, allowing just one run on four hits, with six strikeouts, pitching all seven innings. His performance kept Newton in the game.
“Berg has done a great job for us,” said Freire. “He really put the game on his shoulders for us through the first four innings. In the early innings we really relied on Zeke and he did a tremendous job of holding our mast down.”
With a slim 1-0 lead in the sixth inning, Newton exploded for four runs, to give them a 5-0 lead, heading into the bottom of the inning.
Center fielder Curtis Beatrice opened up the scoring for Newton in the inning. With runners on second and third, and holding onto a 2-0 lead, Beatrice hit a line drive single to center, scoring two runs, giving Newton a 4-0 lead. Beatrice would advance to second on the play.
“Basically it came to our bats opening up,” said Freire.
After loading the bases, Tualatin Hills was finally able to add a run on the scoreboard in the seventh and final inning, cutting the lead to 5-1. But the one run was not nearly enough, as Newton was able to close them off.
“It was a little scary at the end,” said Freire. “They were able to score, but it was obviously not enough to come back and beat us, so it was a good game.”
Until Tualatin Hills scored in the seventh, Newton had gone 14 innings without giving up a run.
Newton has secured first place in the American Division with the win and is scheduled to play again at 10 a.m. on Friday in the semifinals of single elimination play.
For more information about stats, scores and standings for the entire Babe Ruth World Series, visit the Babe Ruth World Series website.
Derek McLean can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.