Versatility is part of their game plan going into Friday’s 2013 Iowa Class 4A Substate Tournament. Newton Senior High’s Cardinals will use that to their advantage against ninth-ranked Dowling Catholic High’s Maroons.
“Our focus from the beginning of the season was to develop our players so they can play anywhere,” said Cardinal co-coach Pat Riley. “Coach (Darin) Tisdale and I really wanted to focus on making guys versatile. We have guys who can play in the infield and outfield for us, and we’ve moved people around all season.”
Co-coach Darin Tisdale said the Cardinals will be facing one of the better teams they’ve seen all season in Friday’s substate game. He said Newton has to focus on the details and play at its highest level to give the Cardinals the opportunity to win.
Newton travels to Dowling Catholic for a 7 p.m. substate contest Friday in West Des Moines. The winner will advance to the substate semifinals.
Another factor the Cardinals have going for them is they’ve been playing solid defense over the course of the final weeks of the regular season. Riley pointed out the Cardinals have gone for a stretch of games without defensive errors.
“At the high school level, if you cut down on your errors in the field, it’s huge. We’re not a power team so we have to play small-ball on offense, play well defensively and have great pitching,” Riley said.
Riley said the past two weeks, Newton has worked on playing small-ball — using sacrifice bunts or fly balls to move runners into scoring positions then get the single to drive in runs. He said against a team such as Dowling, the Cardinals have to take advantage of every scoring opportunity.
“We’re hitting the ball and putting it in play. We have to find the gaps in their defense on Friday,” Tisdale said.