PELLA — It has been said that you can’t win a game in the first inning, but you can lose it. It was clear that was the case for the Newton softball team on Tuesday night, who were sunk by a three-run first inning. They lost to the host-Little Dutch, 5-1.
“If you take their three-run first inning out of it, and it’s a really close game,” Newton coach Ashley Ryan said. “That was kind of crucial. Obviously, taking those three runs away only makes it a one-run game, and that’s a huge difference in our mental approach to the game. We just have to find some way to stop the bleeding in innings like that.”
Ashton Hoffman took the loss for the Cardinals. She pitched all six innings in the cirlce. There were a few strike calls that didn’t go in her favor, but she battled. Throwing away the first inning, Hoffman only allowed two runs over four innings of work.
“She didn’t do too bad of a job,” Ryan said. “Her changeup was working really well tonight. It threw them off a lot. She pitched a hard six-inning ballgame”
The Cardinals had a tough time over the weekend putting balls into play. They lost all three game of a tournament in State Center, scoring only five runs in the process. Newton came away with some better at-bats and a lot more baserunners in the loss to Pella. If not for some tremendous defensive plays by the Little Dutch outfielders, Newton could have easily made this a much closer game.
“I felt like we put the ball in play hard today,” Ryan said. “It was a lot better than the weekend, which helped boost their confidence. You’ve got to give them credit. They made some great plays. A lot of those drop in for runs usually, but I thought we put the ball in play pretty decently.”
The Newton baserunners included senior Sarita Smith, who was hit by a pitch and singled in her two at-bats. Kari Adams reached on an error in the fifth inning, but was stranded on third base. The Cardinal run came on a solo homer by Madison Bagnall in the top of the second inning. Hoffman singled in three at-bats. Finally, Frances Lucas doubled once in her three at-bats.