Newton Senior High School baseball is on an upswing.
That statement came from one of the most faithful Cardinal baseball fans before the 2013 NHS team played its final regular season game on Monday night at home.
Steve Vorhies has had generations of Cardinal players pass before his eyes since becoming a NHS baseball fan in 1977. Vorhies can be found cheering on each year’s baseball team, in his quiet manner, at home and away games.
“I haven’t missed a game in four years,” Vorhies said. “Newton baseball is on an upswing. Last year they had a few difficult moments but they’ve played pretty well this year.”
Baseball is a game the 58-year-old Newton native has grown to love. He said, “a dear friend — the late Max Buckley, who was a fixture in youth baseball in Newton — taught me a long time ago that there is no better sport than baseball.”
Vorhies said he cheers on the Newton football team in the fall “but it’s not the same as baseball. You better believe it that there is nothing like the game of baseball.”
Vorhies is a avid Chicago Cubs fan and supports the University of Iowa Hawkeyes.
But his all-time favorite team is the Newton Cardinal baseball.
“I enjoy being around the boys and watching them grow up. The sad part is Brian Rose, who was a senior last year, I remember his dad when he was playing baseball for Newton,” Vorhies said.
He won’t give you a “favorite” memory of Cardinal baseball because there are too many memories. “If I name players, I’d probably forget someone who should be mentioned.”
When practices begin, Vorhies is ready to don his Newton baseball cap and shirt. He said he comes out and watches each year’s crop of Cardinal players work through the season.
“It’s thrilling to watch the games. These boys make me feel young, and believe me, that takes a lot these days,” Vorhies said with a smile. “They (the players) are a special part of my life.
“Every one of these kids has a place right here,” he said touching his heart. “They will never know how much I really care about them because I don’t express my feelings well.”
What Vorhies does do well is offer encourging words to the Cardinals.
“I cheer them on even when they get beat. That is when they really need the support the most. I tell them ‘well, guys, believe it or not the sun will come up tomorrow morning. We just keep on working on what we’re working on.’”
Win, lose or draw, Vorhies is there for Newton baseball. The 2013 Newton Cardinals play in the first round of the Iowa Class 4A playoffs Friday at Dowling Catholic High School in West Des Moines look for Vorhies to be right there to cheer on his Cardinals.
“When they play their last game of the year, I’m ready for next year’s opening day of Cardinal baseball. I love the game and enjoy being here for the Newton players,” Vorhies said.