OSKALOOSA — Working toward playing their best softball for regionals, Newton Senior High’s Cardinals battled tough against host Oskaloosa High’s Indians Monday night.
The Cardinals overcame a two, two-run home run first inning by the Indians to close to within a run by the end of 5 1/2 innings. But the defending Little Hawkeye Conference championships, powered their way to a 10-4 win over Newton.
“We played pretty solid defense and we are on track towards playing our best ball by regionals coming up next Thursday,” said Cardinal head coach Ashley Ryan.
“Take a few hits out of there and this is a lot closer ballgame. The girls had a lot of confidence at the the plate and fought hard against a good team.”
Newton dropped to 5-18 on the season. The Cardinals host Pella at 6 p.m. Wednesday.
Against the Indians, the Cardinals battled back from a 5-0 deficit. The Indians got two- run home runs from Kylie Hill and Petyon Zickefoose in the first inning. Both shots went over the left field fence. Oskaloosa added a run in the second.
The Cardinals avoided a shutout in the fifth inning with a little help from the Indians. With two gone, Sydney Jenkins singled then stole second base. Sarita Smith reached on an Indian error while Jenkins’ speed got her from second to home plate for Newton’s first run of the game.
Newton’s pitcher Ashton Hoffman, who went the distance in the circle, led off the sixth with a base hit. Allison Ergenbright went in as a courtesy runner for Hoffman and moved to second base on a passed ball. Madison Bagnall worked walk then Kari Adams’ sacrifice bunt moved the runners up.
A walk was issued to Frances Lucas to load the bases with Cardinals. Morgan Davros laced a three-run triple down the right-field line to cut the margin to 5-4. With two gone and the tying run at third, the Indians intentionally walked Jenkins.
Smith drew a base-on-balls to load the bases again for Newton. Sarah Kalkhoff had a quality at-bat but on a 3-2 pitch grounded out to end the Cardinal threat.
A hit batter and a single by Shawni Wills set the stage for another Hill home run for Oskaloosa in the bottom of the sixth inning. Hill hammered the first pitch from Hoffman over the left field fence for a three-run homer. Two errors by the Cardinals allowed the Indians to plate two more runs.
Newton wasn’t able to come up with another rally in the top of the seventh, dropping the conference game.
Jenkins and Hoffman each had two singles for the Cardinals. Davros finished with a triple and Bagnall doubled. Kaytlin Ahn singled and Adams had a bunt single.
Hoffman struck out five Indian batters in the game. She allowed 12 hits, walked two and hit three batters.