MASON — From her position as second baseman, Madi Newton raced toward the right field foul territory. Lindsey Carter did the same thing from the outfield as the two chased a fly ball at Mason High School.
The two converged with Carter making the catch. As they collided Newton spun around and landed awkwardly on the turf. As fans cheered the catch by Carter, they quickly realized Newton was motionless, face down.
The lone senior on Clinton-Massie’s historic softball team was done for her high school career. Try as she might, Newton was unable to leave the field on her own power and had to be carried by CM coaches Anthony Lauer and Greg Clayborn.
“She had a concussion,” Lauer said. “She hit her head in basketball. I guess she had the same symptoms in basketball. I think she’ll be OK.”
Newton remained in the dugout until the final out of Wednesday’s 14-4 loss to Greenville in a Region 8 semifinal game.
The undisputed team leader, Newton closed out her career as a casualty of playing the game with reckless abandon.
“That hustle right there, I mean what more can you ask for,” said Lauer. “She knows she has no more after this. That’s something that I’ve loved about her. She’s not afraid to get dirty and, obviously, she’s not afraid to get hurt either.”
Lauer said Newton turned her ankle against Ross last Friday and, primarily because of the adrenalin of the moment, “didn’t realize how bad she actually twisted it.”
When the players convened for practice on Monday, “I saw it (the injury). I tried to baby it.”
Then on Tuesday, Newton confronted Lauer with five words.
“I’m not sitting. I’m playing,” Lauer recalled Newton saying. “That’s what it’s been like the whole season.”
Lauer’s glowing remarks about Newton came through clearly, despite fighting back the raw emotion of knowing the heart and soul of his team had to finish her career on the dugout bench and not on the playing field.
“It kinda makes me emotional,” said Lauer. “She’s done that all year … and to be a senior, it’s tough.”
• Clinton-Massie took one more step this season than last. While the loss to Greenville hurts, the Lady Falcons will have all players — except Newton — returning for another bid for the state tournament.
“This was our third year in the district (championship) and finally winning it,” said Lauer. “Going back to that Ross game, having played them last year, having seen that pitching, our girls don’t forget.”
So Lauer hopes his squad gets to play in next season’s regional tournament, with the idea that this game — albeit a loss — will help in the future.
“To experience this environment … I think we thought we were prepared for that but when they jumped on (us) with three runs it kind of took us out of it a little bit,” said Lauer. “I think they’ll be able to block that environment out a little bit (next year). I think it’s a huge building block.”
• Greenville will play Jonathan Alder at Noon Saturday at MHS for the Region 8 championship and a berth in the state Final Four. Alder defeated Springfield Shawnee 11-2 on Wednesday.
Reach Mark Huber at 937-556-5765, or on Twitter @wnjsports