The Newton baseball team (6-8, 2-2 LHC) hosted its first and only tournament of the 2013 season on Saturday, and the team split its games while getting solid outings all-around from its pitching staff.
The tournament welcomed Independence, Chariton and Colfax-Mingo to Woodland Park for a day filled with baseball, lasting nearly eight hours in all. The Cards split their two games on the day.
In the first game of the day, the Cardinals took on the visiting Tigerhawks from Colfax-Mingo (11-7, 4-4 HOI).
The Tigerhawks came into this game with a senior-heavy squad that is built around speed along with big hitters in the middle of the lineup, highlighted by senior Chad McLain. McLain, along with fellow seniors Trent Pease and Michael Brown, drove in all four runs for C-M in the Tigerhawks’ 4-2 victory.
Senior Taylor Field got the start for Newton on the mound. He took the loss for the Cardinals, struggling to find the plate at times. Field pitched three innings, giving up two earned runs on two hits and six walks. Field also recorded four strikeouts.
C-M senior Jake Alexander, who pitched all seven innings, picked up the win. Alexander only surrendered one earned run, while scattering five Cardinal hits and picking up two strikeouts.
All four of the Tigerhawks’ runs came in the third inning, and Pease was the offensive standout for the Tigerhawks, driving in two of the team’s four runs. Alexander also had a solid day at the plate, walking twice and scoring a run. McLain went 1-for-3 with an RBI.
Sophomore Jordan Travis continued to provide some strong relief out of the bullpen, holding the Tigerhawks scoreless in his three innings of work while striking out four. Travis only allowed three baserunners in his appearance. Travis also scored one of the two runs for the Cardinals. He went 1-for-2 at the plate.
Travis was driven in by sophomore third baseman Tyler Wood, who went 1-for-3 for the game. Junior second baseman Chandler Sturtz scored the other Cardinal run against the Tigerhawks. He was driven in by sophomore right fielder Michael Barr.
Newton co-coach Pat Riley drew some positives and negatives from the morning loss, emphasizing the game as a growing experience for his young team.
“It was a tough loss in the morning,” Riley said. “That was a senior dominated Colfax-Mingo team, and they were hungrier for that win than we were. Again our pitching struggled, and a few key plays may have cost us that game. These are great learning experiences for us. We will grow from this in the long run.”
For as much as the team was held down on the offensive end, the team completely turned that around in its second game against Independence.
The Cardinals had an offensive outburst highlighted by a three-run homer from junior center fielder Levi Michener, and the Cardinals beat down the Mustangs, 9-2.
Barr got the win for the Cardinals, but it was a true team effort from the Newton pitching staff. Barr, along with Wood, Jacob Hill and junior Derek Wrage combined to hold the Mustangs to just two runs over seven innings.
The two runs were charged to Barr, who pitched two innings. Hill and Wrage each pitched two innings, striking out a combined five batters.
Besides Michener’s home run, which gave the Cardinals the lead in the second inning, Newton picked up big hits from Jeff Stanton, Evan Shimon, Travis and Field. Travis contributed three RBI on a 3-for-4 showing at the plate, while also stealing a base and scoring a run. Stanton, Field and Shimon each drove in one run each. Field and Shimon both doubled.
“After going down 2-0 in the top of the second, we had a huge lift of momentum with Levi Michener’s three-run homer,” Riley said. “Plays like that ignite teams, and it did that for us. We went on to score six more runs in the remaining four innings. Our pitchers threw strikes, and we made plays. It was a quality win that we needed to end the week.”
Following the tournament, the All-Tournament Team was named. The team featured Newton’s own Michener and Travis, along with Alexander and Caleb Anderson from C-M. Luke House from Independence was the lone Mustang to make the team.
Chariton, the tournament champions, had four players — Austin Peterson, Jordan Baughman, Lucas Heaverlo and Brett Braida — make the team.