Newton County moves on …

By By Rocky Higginbotham/The Meridian Star
April 18, 2001
DECATUR Newton County's fast-pitch softball team could have easily been caught looking ahead to Thursday's showdown with rival Clarkdale.
But when the Lady Cougars took the field in the Class 3A/2A/1A playoffs Tuesday, the defending state champs simply took care of business.
Newton County run-ruled visiting St. Aloysius 13-3 and 13-1 Tuesday afternoon, completing an easy sweep in its first-round, best-of-three playoff series.
The Lady Cougars, now 32-2 on the season, go to Clarkdale for the Region 3 championship series Thursday, and for the right to advance to the 3A/2A/1A South State finals.
Fanning said his team would have to more consistent than Tuesday, when in both instances, the Lady Cougars jumped out to a big lead early and then put it on cruise control.
Game 1: Newton County 13, St. Aloysius 3: Senior right-hander April Bufkin fanned 10 and allowed just two hits and a pair of earned runs as the Lady Cougars rolled.
Bufkin threw only 57 pitches in the five-inning game, including 46 strikes.
Newton County scored four runs on just one hit in the first inning, then broke things open with a seven-run second.
Dominique Mapp had a two-run triple in the second-inning rally and Krissi Harris, Stephanie Airhart, Suzanne Chaney, Jennifer Williamson and Bufkin all had hits in the inning.
Harris finished 2-for-3 with two runs scored, Bufkin was 2-for-4 with a pair of runs, Mapp was 1-for-1 with her triple and three walks and Airhart had a pair of RBIs.
Laura Beth Lyons was the losing pitcher for St. Aloysius. Danielle Klaus had both of the Lady Flashes' hits, going 2-for-2 with a triple and two RBIs.
Game 2: Newton County 13, St. Aloysius 1: This time as the visiting team, the Lady Cougars scored six times in the top of the first inning to grab the momentum.
Bufkin (20-1) again got the win, fanning three in three hitless innings of work. Suzanne Chaney finished up with two scoreless innings and three strikeouts.
Newton County outhit St. Aloysius 12-2, getting two hits each from Airhart, Williamson and Suzanne Chaney.
Mapp had a triple and two walks, Bufkin had a double and Kristin Chaney out with an injury since March 31 singled and walked.
The Lady Flashes, the Division 6 runnerup, finished with an 11-7 mark.
Rocky Higginbotham is the sports editor of The Meridian Star. E-mail him at rhigginbotham@themeridianstar.com.

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