Leading the leaderboards

In their first home game of the season, senior Troy Newell makes big plays for the Spartans.

Claire Richardson, The Scene Editor

It’s the third inning in the first home game of the season. With a guy on first and second, senior Troy Newell is up to bat. Although there isn’t much tension in the air – the score is already 8-0 – adding to the run total wouldn’t hurt.

And he does, hitting a double, notching two RBIs for Newell. This brings his RBI count to seven, landing him a spot in the RBI leaders of the Gateway South Conference. For Newell though, it is more about getting the win than what the leaderboards say, checking them a few times, but not constantly.

Newell says he does not deserve the credit for his impressive stats or the Spartans’ impressive record. Earlier in the game, in the second inning, senior Jack Webb stole second, adding even more momentum. After an error on Ritenour, three more runs were scored for the Spartans.

“You know, the reason I think my RBIs are so high is because the guys in front of me are so great at getting on base and whatnot,” Newell said. “With them getting on base all the time, it makes it easy to hit them in.”

In front of Newell in the lineup, Jack Webb, sophomore Erik Webb and senior Mitch Miller look for any chance to get on base, and because all three have batting averages at or above 500, that has not been an issue for the Spartans. Each team member shares the same mentality when they get up to the plate, which has spelled success for the Spartans so far.

“I just try to find a good pitch to hit; I watch what the pitcher is doing before I come up to bat. I’m just trying to get on base and do my job,” catcher Erik Webb said.

This displays a fairly regular pattern for the Spartans, getting on base in any possible manner and, as Newell has done, advance the runners. And so far, this small ball strategy has paid off for the team. Currently, the Spartans are 4-1, with the only loss to Parkway South in last Saturday’s game, a team who was 6-0 at the time.

Newell isn’t only leading the team in RBIs, though. After only pitching two games, Newell leads the team in strikeouts, at 10, aiding wins in both games.

“As far as strikeouts go, it’s hitting my spots, getting my curveballs over for strikes and all that good jazz. That’s pretty much it, just fundamentals,” Newell said.

The Spartans will have more time to develop these fundamentals as they take on Timberland in their first conference game, next Tuesday at 4:15 at FHC.