DeKALB – When DeKalb’s Morgan Newport came in to pitch in the top of the fourth inning with the score tied at 2, the sophomore knew she had to pick up where starting pitcher Katie Kowalski left off.
“I was just trying to get outs,” Newport said. “Katie pitched so well and I needed to come in and finish it for her. That is what my mentality was.”
Newport pitched four solid innings in relief and the Barbs scored the go-ahead runs in the bottom of the fifth to earn a 4-2 softball victory over Sterling in a Northern Illinois Big 12 crossover game Monday afternoon. Newport only allowed two hits while striking out three to earn the win.
“You wouldn’t think that she hasn’t thrown in a week or a week and a half,” Barbs coach Jeff Davis said. “You wouldn’t with how sharp she was, and that’s a good sign and I think it goes to show what a good squad we have.”
Kowalski started the game for the Barbs. The senior struck out six Golden Warriors in three innings. Davis said he made the change because he wanted Newport to get more work.
“Just because [Kowalski] had been getting a lot of innings lately, and Morgan hasn’t lately. So we thought it would be a good time to get Morgan some innings,” Davis said. “So, Katie started and she is more comfortable in the starter's role. They both did really well today.”
DeKalb (19-5, 6-2 NI Big 12) scored two runs in the opening inning to take the early lead. Haley Tadd’s RBI single plated Abby Taylor to open the scoring. Alex Schiedecker followed with an RBI groundout that scored Erin Karasewski.
After Sterling tied it in the top of the third, DeKalb took advantage of a couple of Golden Warriors errors in a two-run fifth inning that gave the Barbs the lead for good.
Newport singled to open the inning. After Tayler Garland reached on an error, another error by Sterling first baseman Erin Stroup allowed Newport to score. Garland eventually came in to score on a Jessica Townsend groundout.
“Out team hit awesome," Newport said. "Whenever we got runners on base, we always got our bunts down and we always got those timely hits and that is exactly what we needed to do.”
Davis said he was pleased with how his whole team contributed to the victory.
“Overall, we played well," he said. "We got some runners on and we got a couple timely hits.
“We have a lot of depth with a lot of talent on it. It is a good problem to have as a head coach.”