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Big fourth inning propels Barbs past Spartans

SYCAMORE – DeKalb outfielder Morgan Newport hit her first homer of the year – an inside-the-park grand slam, in a win Tuesday over Yorkville.

In Thursday’s game against Sycamore, Newport did the same thing, though this time her fourth-inning grand slam went over the fence, helping propel the Barbs to a 14-0, five-inning win over the Spartans.

Newport’s blast scored Rachael Johnson, Abby Taylor and Erin Karasewski.

“I was just wanting to put the ball in play. I knew I had people on base, I just had to bring them in,” Newport said. “It was really just wanting to score some more runs for my team, so that’s what I was thinking.”

After Sycamore (5-15, 2-6 Northern Illinois Big 12 East) pitcher Taylor Zak retired the first nine DeKalb (18-5, 6-2 NI Big 12 East) hitters, the Barbs erupted in the fourth with 11 runs, and added three in the fifth to win by the 10-run rule.

“I think with any pitcher, the second time around is a little bit easier because you know what she’s throwing, what spots she’s hitting,” Newport said.

The top of the fourth inning started with Taylor reaching on an error – and everything went downhill from there.

The Barbs would bat around and every DeKalb hitter would reach base in the inning.

“We’ve been susceptible to this all year. It seems like we just cannot shut the door,” Sycamore coach Jill Carpenter said. “... You get through the order once and you just have to keep working hard to get through it again.”

Katie Kowalski earned the win for DeKalb, allowing four hits and striking out six in a complete-game effort.

“She was dominant again,” Barbs coach Jeff Davis said. “She’s been throwing well, and with Morgan (Newport) in right field it makes our defense better.”

Thursday’s victory was DeKalb’s eighth straight victory, and also the Barbs’ sixth win in a row against the Spartans.

“We’ve talked a lot about staying up. It’s always tough because these kids want to play well against DeKalb,” Carpenter said. “They know them, they play with them (in travel ball), they’ve played against them for years. You want to put a good showing in. I think DeKalb would say the same thing, it hurts a litlte more when you lose to that team across town so to speak.

“At the end of the day I think our kids wish them well and I would like to think that [DeKalb] would do the same, and that’s gotten easier since we’re in different classes.”

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