Finishing the regular season at home on a winning note should give Newton Senior High’s Cardinal baseball team a little bounce going into the playoffs.
The Cardinals shut out Oskaloosa High’s Indians 7-0 using solid defensive play and pitching. Two things co-coaches Pat Riley and Darin Tisdale said the Cardinals have to have in the playoffs.
Newton’s defense turned two double plays in the game. The Cardinals played seven innings of baseball without an error.
“The thing we’ve done well all year is we’ve played great defense,” Riley said. “We had a couple of rough nights but for the most part, especially over the course of the last three weeks, we’ve gone games in a row where we didn’t make any errors.
“The key for us going into Friday (in substate action) is great pitching and defense plus we’ve got to scratch some runs across by bunting, hitting singles, moving people around.
That’s how the Cardinals did it Monday night.
In the first inning, Tyler Wood and Evan Shimon had back-to-back base hits with two outs. Wood ended up at third base then a passed ball allowed him to score a run.
Jeff Stanton reached on an Indian error to begin the second inning for Newton. Derek Wrage put down a sacrifice bunt that scooted past defenders and he almost beat it out for a single but he did move Stanton all the way to third.
Michael Barr was asked to bunt also. It was squeeze bunt with Stanton coming home. Barr did it so well that he got a single and Stanton scored. A third bunt was put down by Jacob Marter but the Indians overthrew first base. Barr and Marter ended up at third and second.
“Feels great to win this game and gives us some mometum going into Friday night’s game,” Barr said.
Chandler Sturtz laced an RBI single to center field. Taylor Field used a long sacrifice fly to drive in a third run. Newton was up 4-0 after two innings.
Oskaloosa committed four errors in the contest. Mike McCormick went all the way to second base when the Indians’ right fielder misplayed a fly ball with one gone in the third inning. Derek Wrage came through with an RBI single to center field.
Marter drew a lead-off walk in the fourth then Bryce Tish went in as a pinch runner. Tish stole second base and Sturtz walked. The Cardinals pulled a double steal to move the runners then came one-out back-to-back singles by Wood and Shimon to plate two runs.
Wood, Wrage and Field combined on the mound for the shutout. Wood started and worked three innings, giving up two hits and striking out three. Wrage came on to pitch three innings of one-hit ball plus walked one and struck out two. Field allowed one hit and two walks in an inning of work.
Shimon and Wood each had two singles. Sturtz, Wrage and Barr had a single apiece. Newton’s junior varsity lost 6-0 to Oskaloosa Monday.
“I had one of those nights at the plate but yeah, I did what I needed to do on defense,” McCormick said. The second baseman started the first double play for the Cards by diving to stop the ball and on his back flipped the ball to Sturtz at the bag at second.
“Before each pitch to plate, you have to be mentally ready out there. I just knew what I had to do if the ball is hit here or there.”
Coach Tisdale continued to praise the Cardinal pitching staff.
“Our pitchers kept the ball in the zone and made them hit it or it was a strikeout,” Tisdale said. “Mike McCormick made a great play on the ball up the middle and Tyler Wood started the second double play at third later in the game.”
The Cardinals head to Iowa Class 4A substate action Friday against Dowling Catholic in West Des Moines. Game time is 7 p.m.