Baseball can be a magical game. It can lift spirits up from the lowest of lows, and it can make men and boys feel like immortals with the power of the world in their hands, in the form of a wooden stick.
It can also rip hearts out in the most callous and painful way imaginable, all the while leaving its victims with the confusing task of deciphering what just happened.
The worst part of these phenomena is that they occur simultaneously, depending on which team wins and loses.
Unfortunately for the players of the Newton baseball team (8-10, 4-4), they felt the brutal end of one of those nights on Friday in their 8-6 loss to the Eagles of Pella Christian (8-10, 3-6).
The Cardinals came out with a steady offenive flow. The team put runs on the board in four of the first five innings. In fact, Newton scored in five of the seven innings, bringing a 5-2 lead into the final frame.
Sophomore pitcher Jordan Travis had a terrific debut start going through the first six frames. He had only given up two earned runs and had six strikeouts heading into the final frame and looked poised to polish off the Eagles with three outs left to get.
That’s when the baseball gods turned on the Cardinals, and on their home field no less. The Eagles rallied for three runs off of Travis, who left the inning before recording an out and ineligible to get the win with the game tied. Co-coaches Darin Tisdale and Pat Riley then turned to senior pitcher Jacob Hill to stop the bleeding, but Hill was unable to record an out, surrendering two runs on two walks. Taylor Field was able to get the three outs the Cardinals needed, but it was too late for Newton, who trailed 8-5 going into the bottom of the seventh.
The the Cardinals’ credit, the team was able to push a run across to cut the defiicit to two runs. However, that was too little, too late for Newton. Hill wound up the losing pitcher.
Evan Shimon led the team with two RBI on a double in his three at-bats. Sophomore Jeff Stanton had an RBI-single, a run scored and a walk in his three plate appearances. Travis helped out his own cause with an RBI and a run scored. Field and Chandler Sturtz tied for the team lead with two hits each.
The loss brings the Cardinals back to .500 in the Little Hawkeye Conference. They have an opportunity for two big bounc-back wins tonight, when they take on Knoxville in a doubleheader.