All-Area Fast Pitch Player of Year: Delta Claire Newman

Delta Claire Newman
Staff Writer

A trip to Eupora’s softball fields next season will be much different for longtime followers of the Lady Eagles as there will be big cleats to fill in the circle.

After six years as the Eupora pitcher, Delta Claire Newman will be replaced in 2019. She started her journey with the Lady Eagles back in seventh grade and much was put on her to succeed at an early age.

All of the pressure of competing as a seventh grader was good for her, she said. It allowed her to understand failure at an early age and how to get back up when she gets knocked around.  

“I had to step up and do what was needed,” Newman said. “There were bumps in the road and the girls were a lot bigger, but it makes you compete early. That’s what made me the player I am today.”

The player she became is multiple-time All-Area, a state All-Star, a future college pitcher and now the Starkville Daily News Area Fast Pitch Player of the Year for 2018. She is also a state champion when she helped her team to that title in slow pitch in 2015.

That particular accomplishment is one that Newman holds dear to her heart. Through all the strikeouts and the wins over her career as a Lady Eagle, the opportunity to see her teammates bask in the glory of a state title meant the most.

Coach Amir Hunt saw that trait right away in Newman when he was an assistant and then the head coach of the team. Still, he doesn’t minimize her importance to the program as the starting pitcher over the years.

“Delta meant everything on our team because she went out there and pitched almost every game," Hunt said. "If you have a good pitcher in the circle, you’re going to have a chance to win a lot of games. We don’t do what we do without her and she’s been a critical piece for this program for a long time.

“She’s going to be successful on the next level. She has the work ethic and the right mindset and that’s going to take her far.”

Newman’s final season in Eupora was one of her best. She led the Lady Eagles to the Class 2A, Region 2 regular season championship with a perfect 10-0 district record and they finished 20-3 overall.

Individually, the pitcher was 16-2 with a 1.40 ERA in 105 innings and 125 strikeouts. At the plate, she was successful as well as she hit .364 with four doubles, a home run and 21 RBI. All of that came after she made the decision in the fall to play for East Mississippi Community College next season.

She feels that Eupora prepared her for the challenge of JUCO softball where she will be a starting pitcher but also has plans to hit.

“I am so excited,” Newman said of her college career. ”It’s going to be a different game, but I’m ready to get there and show them what I’ve got. Hopefully I can continue this as long as I can.”

While Newman takes her first warm-up tosses next season, she surely won’t forget how she got there and the journey she took to earn that scholarship.

Eupora will stay in her heart and the six years she controlled the circle was filled with highs and lows but no regrets.

“It has been wild," Newman said. "I’ve learned a lot and it made me a better player and a better person. It’s flown by and I feel like I haven’t played enough ball. Luckily I get to keep going.  Really, it’s just an opportunity that I worked hard for but the players and coaches that come through make the team.”