The Newport Junior High Lady Greypups softball team completed their most successful season of the past three years of competion. The team finished with a final record of 15-3-1, and made it to the semifinals of the Northeast Arkansas Junior High Softball tournament. The Lady Pups lost the semifinal game 5-3 in two extra innings. “These past couple of seasons we felt like we have been building up to something special,” states Kevin Pearce.
The Lady Pups had four eighth graders on the roster who contributed to the team’s success. These include Tayla Brownfield, Shaylee Elliott, Emily Long and Abbie Nation. Brownfield was a 3-year starter for the team and played almost every position, but spent most of the 2018 season as the Lady Greypup catcher. “Tayla really developed into a solid catcher for us this season. She is one of the toughest kids I have ever coached and I look forward to watching her at the next level,” state Coach Pearce.
Abbie Nation was another three year starter and played third base for the Lady Greypups. “I have had the privilege of coaching Abbie for the past seven or so years. It has been fun to watch her improve each season. She has a passion for the game and it shows on the field. Abbie led us in most of the offensive categories and committed no errors this season. The Lady Hound Softball team will have a special player next season.”
Shaylee Elliott and Emily Long were also eighth grade starters for the Lady Pups this season. “These two girls improved dramatically since the start of the season and were always looking to better themselves. They both have a lot of potential if they keep working hard. The team plans to continue the hard work and make sure seasons like this one are the standard for the junior high program. The ultimate goal is to funnel skilled players with a work ethic and outstanding character into the Newport High School program. Winning is not everything for us, but it sure does make things more fun,” remarks Pearce with a laugh. The Lady Greypups will have six full and part time starters and 11 total players from the 2018 team returning.
Batting average leaders were Abbie Nation (0.659), Hannah Nicholson (0.657), Emilee Addington (0.595), Tyriona Watkins (0.389) and Jazzy Baker (0.333). Topping the list for Runs Batted In (RBI) was Emilee Addington (22), followed by Abbie Nation (19) and Hannah Nicholson (18). For the season, Abbie Nation led the team with runs with a total of 30, followed by Hannah Nicholson (24), Tayla Brownfield (17), Emi Addington (14) and Tyriona Watkins (11). Abbie Nation not only led the team in runs, but held the top spot in stolen bases (18), homeruns (6), and triples (4). Other leaders of stolen bases include Hannah Nicholson (15), Tayla Brownfield (10), and Faith McCullar (9). Emilee Addington left her mark on the season with three homeruns and three triples.
Hannah Nicholson proved to be a full threat on the mound and the plate. Hannah hit two homeruns, two triples, as well as the 15 stolen bases. One the mound, she ended the season with a 1.66 ERA (Earned Run Average) and 141 strikeouts.