OSKALOOSA — Hustle plays, strong pitching and solid hitting propelled Newton Senior High’s Cardinals to a sweep of a Little Hawkeye Conference doubleheader Monday on the road.
Cardinal pitchers Tyler Wood, Derek Wrage and Michael Barr limited host Oskaloosa High’s Indians to three runs on nine hits in the two games. Wood tossed a complete game in the opener for a 7-1 victory for the Cardinals. Wrage and Barr combined on the mound in the nightcap as Newton collected a 6-2 win.
The sweep evened Newton’s record to 13-13 on the season. On Wednesday, the Cardinals host Pella for a doubleheader starting at 5:30 p.m.
“I thought the kids played really well in all phases of the game. It starts with good pitching and our pitchers were in the strike zone all night,” said Cardinal co-coach Pat Riley.
“We played really good defense as well. We had three or four errors total for the night, and we got out of big innings. They had the bases loaded a couple times and we escaped without giving up any runs.”
Riley said Newton’s offense was also rolling. He said the Cardinals hit around .385 as a team that second game and raised their team batting average by five points.
“That is a good night at the plate. These are quality conference wins to start the week,” Riley said.
Newton plated a run in the first inning of the opener, then exploited Oskaloosa starter Nick Rutledge’s struggles to find the strike zone in the third inning. The Cardinals scored five times in that frame.
It all started with a two-out error allowing Jacob Hill to reach safely. Mike McCormick and Evan Shimon loaded the bases after being hit by pitches.
Wrage drew a walk to force in a run for the Cardinals.
The hit to break things open was a two-run single to center field by Barr. Newton produced two more runs in the inning to lead 6-0. It added another run in the fourth.
The Cardinal battery of Wood and senior catcher Taylor Field were in sync all game. Field made two “hustle plays” coming up with foul balls behind the plate.
With Newton up 7-0 in the bottom of the fourth, Field caught a foul ball by the Indians’ Darren Berthusen then turned and threw out Andrew Landgrebe trying to go to second on the play.
“I just try to make all the hustle plays I can to help my team,” Field said after the first game.
He had at least one more of those behind-the-plate catches at the end of the second contest.
For Wood, who is a sophomore, throwing a complete game felt good. He said when he got into trouble against Oskaloosa he went to his curve ball pitch.
“I’m just trying to throw strikes and allow my defense to make the plays behind me. Taylor does a great job of calling the game behind the plate,” Wood said.
Wood allowed six hits, walked three and struck out four.
Oskaloosa scored its run in the fifth on a double by Skylar Purdy and an RBI single by Jesse Van Dalen.
Purdy opened the bottom of the seventh with a double for the Indians but Wood struck out Van Dalen.
Jacob Hance lined out to McCormick at second base, who threw to Hill covering second to double off Purdy to end the game.
Chandler Sturtz led the Cardinal offense in the opener with a double and a single. Hill hit two singles. Shimon doubled while McCormick, Wrage and Barr each had a single.
In the nightcap Field powered the Cardinals going 3-for-3 with two doubles and a two-run home run driving in three runs in the 6-2 win.
Wrage was 3-for-3 also with three singles. Shimon hit two singles for the game and McCormick had a base hit.
The Cardinals had single runs in the second and third to lead 2-0 then plated two runs in the fifth on Field’s homer.
Oskaloosa also scored twice in the fifth to make it 4-2 but Newton produced single runs in the sixth and seventh innings for insurance.
Wrage worked five innings as the Cardinal starter to get the win. He allowed two runs on two hits and four walks with two strikeouts. Barr closed things out with two scoreless innings of work. He walked one and gave up a hit plus struck out three.
Sports Editor Jocelyn Sheets may be contacted at (641) 792-3121, ext. 432, or at email@example.com.