Newsome has 17 strikeouts to lift Chopticon to 3A championship


By Jerry Shank
Maryland Director of Scouting

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Chopticon’s Ljay Newsome and Mt. Hebron’s Mark Smith had carried their respective teams on the mound into the state championship and it was only fitting that they saved their best for last. 

In an unforgettable pitcher’s duel, Chopticon was able to beat Mt. Hebron 1-0 in the bottom of the seventh on a game ending sacrifice fly by Braves senior Zach Jerew

Newsome was dominant for the entire game, pitching the first five innings of the contest and utilizing his lighting fastball with late movement to overpower the Viking hitters to the tune of 17 strikeouts in a dominant pitching performance. Newsome gave up one hit and only allowed six balls to be put in play. The one spot of trouble that he got into was in the fourth inning when Mt. Hebron’s Jack Schroeder hit a single to left and Newsome hit the next batter. A strikeout would end that rally. Newsome struck out 14 of the first 18 hitters of the game. His first pitch under 90 mph came in the fourth.

Matching Newsome was Mark Smith, a Towson commit who used a variety of quality off speed and a mid-80’s fastball to silence a usually potent Braves lineup. Smith did not give up a hit in the first five innings and only gave up one hit going into the seventh. He would end up giving up two hits, walk three, and had six strike outs in the game. 

Chopticon’s Nick Gray led the bottom of the seventh off with a deep drive to center field and hustled around for a stand up triple, putting the winning run 90 feet away with none out. Up came Jerew who worked a great at-bat and put a charge into the ball with a deep drive to right center. Gray was able to tag up on the catch and score causing the Chopticon bench to clear the dugout in celebration of their championship.

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