By Thomas Sellers Jr.
Brighton junior hurler Nate Newman took to his home mound April 15 with the mindset of beating Tipton County rival Munford Cougars.
But when the Cougars jumped out 2-0 over the Cardinals at the Brighton Baseball Field, Newman started breaking the game into parts. With encouragement from his teammates and focusing on the lessons from Head Coach Brian Oswalt and Pitching Coach Zane Adams, Newman regrouped to lead Brighton to a 8-3 victory.
With a run in the first inning and another RBI in the top of the third, Head Coach Jason Johnson’s Cougars were in front 2-0. Newman said he kept his mental approach positive.
“We’ve just got to battle back,” he said. “We can shut down and we have to stay pushing. I had to keep throwing the ball as hard as I could and know we could come back.”
In the third inning the Cardinals had a slow takeoff before rallying for 7 runs in the frame. An error, Matt Scott single and Ladarrius Williams walk loaded the bases with two outs for Newman.
With a chance to get his team back into the game, Newman quickly put his fear and concerns of the situation behind.
“I was kind of scared,” he acknowledged. “But you have to get over that. You got to know you’re going to hit the ball and score the run. You can’t be thinking you’re going to strike out. You’ve got to go up there swinging.”
Newman swung and connected for a single that tied the game at 2-2. That hit sparked RBI hits from Caleb Armour, Kolton Childress and Jared Webb. And with Scott and Colby Poston reaching base on walks two more runs crossed the plate making the score 7-2.
Now with the lead, Newman’s mindset changed once again.
“Got to keep throwing it, can’t let up,” he said. “You’ve go to keep throwing strikes.”
Newman was able to throw a complete game only allowing one more run the rest of the game. He was able to record three strikeouts in the victory.
“It feels great,” Newman said of the win. “I was able to help my team. We’re 3-2 in district. That’s a big rivalry win right there. And we saved arms for tomorrow.”
The win moved the Cardinals to over .500 in District 13-3A within striking distance of Dyer County. But the Cougars had a chance to bounce back the following night at home in the rematch with the Cardinals.
Newman said it was time for Brighton to get there minds focused on the next game and not take Munford lightly.
“We can’t be thinking we’re going to just blow past them,” he concluded. “We’ve got to keep playing and go harder.”
The Cougars bounced back the following night winning at home 7-1.