Following an impressive win over the 2012 state champions from Dallas Center-Grimes, the Newton baseball team (9-11) returned home on Wednesday night to host another perennial Iowa powerhouse — South Tama (12-5).
The Cardinals found it difficult to get their offense going. They were held scoreless through the first six innings, and although senior Zach Gifford did an admirable job of keeping the Trojan hitters at bay, South Tama eventually busted out for six runs and beat the Cardinals, 6-3.
Gifford suffered the loss for Newton, but his second start of the year was one to take note of. He pitched five innings, giving up four runs on three hits and two walks.
None of Gifford’s runs were earned, and all of the Trojan runs against him came in the top of inning number five. Gifford also had four strikeouts.
Senior Taylor Field replaced Gifford in the top of the sixth inning, in which he turned the Trojans away without a run. Field did allow two runs to cross the plate in the seventh inning, but both of those were unearned, as well. Field struck out two batters and walked four.
Newton generated very little offense until the final frame. Field, who also started at third base, hit a scorching double in the first inning, but he was left stranded.
That was the extent of the extra base hits for the Cardinals, as the rest of the offense either singled, walked or reached via an error.
Sophomore shortstop Tyler Wood picked up the first Cardinal RBI in the bottom of the seventh inning, when he reached on an error that scored catcher Evan Shimon.
Junior second baseman Chandler Sturtz then singled, scoring Wood and junior first baseman Derek Wrage.
That would be all she wrote, however, as Newton’s rally was stifled at just three runs. Other Cardinals to reach base included sophomore Michael Barr, who walked in two at-bats, and Jordan Travis, who went 0-for-2 with a walk and a stolen base.
The Cardinals have alternated wins and losses for the past week and a half, going back to last Monday’s win at Pella. The team will head to Knoxville this afternoon to face the Panthers in a scheduled Little Hawkeye Conference doubleheader.
Newton is currently 4-4 in the conference, and the Panthers are in second place at 5-3. With a sweep of the Panthers and an Oskaloosa loss, Newton could find itself tied for second and just two games back of the first-place Norwalk Warriors.