2013 was not the softball season they wanted to have, going 8-26. But the young Newton Senior High School softball team made strides throughout the season and played its best ball at the end.
Four Cardinal softball players earned 2013 Little Hawkeye Conference honors. The conference honors were released to the Daily News Thursday by Cardinal head coach Ashley Ryan.
Freshman Sydney Jenkins was named All-Little Hawkeye Conference first-team catcher. Junior first baseman Madison Bagnall earned second-team conference honors as an infielder.
Cardinal senior center fielder Sarita Smith and freshman shortstop Kari Adams garnered conference honorable mention.
“We are going to miss our two seniors, Sarita and Sarah (Tingle). They provided good leadership for us this season,” Ryan said. “We will have our entire infield back and our pitchers, so the work these girls did this season will benefit the team next year.”
The Cardinals were 5-11 in conference games, finishing sixth in the seven-team conference. Newton had a team batting average of .216 with 179 hits and producing 112 runs. They committed 100 errors.
“It was like we had two different seasons,” Ryan said. “Early on, we’d have that one bad inning where one mistake led to another, and we got down on ourselves. Then, as the girls grew as individiuals and as a team, we began playing better. We didn’t have that one bad inning where we’d fall apart.”
Ryan said the Cardinals began being more confident at the plate and hitting better. They were playing solid defense at making games closer at the end of the season.
Jenkins led the Cardinals in hitting with a .371 batting average and she was third in the conference in hitting. She was the team leader in hits with 36, including three triples and five doubles. Jenkins drove in a team-high 14 runs and was 17 for 17 in stolen base attempts. Jenkins had six errors as the Cardinal catcher.
Bagnall was the Cardinals’ top home run hitter with four on the season and cranked out six doubles. She was third in hitting with a .242 batting average. She committed just two errors at first base.
Smith was the team’s fourth-leading hitter at .211 with 20 hits and scoring 15 runs. Adams finished with a .207 batting average. She had 19 hits which included two doubles and a home run plus she scored 13 runs.