The Boone Toreadors strolled into Newton having won four of their last five games to face off against a Cardinals softball team still struggling to find its identity.
The Cardinals jumped out front early, but the Toreadors owned the final six innings, which featured some mental mistakes by the Cardinals on both sides of the ball, and Boone won the game, 7-2.
Things started off promisingly for the Cardinals. After Ashton Hoffman worked out of trouble to turn Boone away without any runs in the top of the first, Sydney Jenkins walked to lead off the home half of the inning. Jenkins then stole second and third base. Sophomore Sarah Kalkhoff walked to put runners at the corners with one out.
Jenkins began to take a generous second jump off of third base, and she got the attention of the Boone catcher, who attempted to catch Jenkins napping with a pickoff throw. The throw sailed high over the third baseman and into left field, allowing Jenkins to score and Kalkhoff to replace her at third base.
After a strikeout, a wild pitch allowed Kalkhoff to come home to put the Cardinals ahead, 2-0.
Madison Bagnall then drilled a double off the left field fence. Kari Adams blooped a ball out in front of the plate and beat the play out at first, but she got greedy and was thrown out trying to take the extra base, ending the Cardinals’ scoring chances.
The first two Toreadors went quickly in the top of the second inning, but a two-out rally made things interesting. A deep ball to left put a runner on second for Boone. That followed with a ball that was smoked down to third base, just out of Kalkhoff’s reach as the ball barely clipped her glove and sailed into left field.
The first run of the game for Boone scored on the throw back to the infield. Then, a comebacker to Hoffman was thrown wide to Bagnall at first, tying the game. A sharp play at shortstop by Adams ended the inning.
“We just had mental breakdowns,” Newton coach Ashley Ryan said. “I kind of almost felt like we just gave up on it, honestly. That’s what disappoints me the most. When they get a couple of runs, so be it.”
Neither team generated much offense until the top of the fifth inning, when the Toreadors took their first lead of the game. Two Cardinal errors and a fielder’s choice allowed the third Boone run to cross the plate with two outs, making the score 3-2.
In the top of the sixth, the Toreadors hit the ball hard, and pushed another run across. The inning started with a hard lineout to center fielder Sarita Smith. That was followed by two singles to left field. Hoffman got the next batter to fly out to Smith, but a double steal put runners on second and third.
The next batter walked to load the bases. A sharp ground ball got by the diving glove of Adams to score a run, but left fielder Morgan Davros came up throwing and nailed the second Boone runner to end the inning.
Kalkhoff led off the bottom of the sixth with a single, and a blooper to center looked to start a rally, but the blooper never dropped due to a spectacular sliding catch by the Boone center fielder. The runner was doubled off of first to stamp out any Cardinal rally.
Boone added three more runs in the top of the seventh, and the Cardinals went down without a whisper to end the game, 7-2.
“When we were up 2-0 and they tied it 2-2, we kind of just flattened out,” Ryan said. “We can’t flatten out. We need to stay up and stay on our toes. That’s what I’m more disappointed in. We need to make sure that them scoring doesn’t affect how we play. We always preach 21 outs. You need 21 outs to win a ballgame. One person is not going to get all 21 outs, it takes a team. Every out is a gift is what we’re preaching.”
Sports writer Dustin Turner may be contacted at (641) 792-3121, ext. 440, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.