Four in a row — Newton High’s Cardinal baseball team is on a four-game win streak after sweeping Monday night’s home Little Hawkeye Conference doubleheader with Pella Christian.
Following the 6-3 and 7-3 victories at Eversman Field Monday, the Cardinals improved to 3-4 in conference play. They are 5-8 overall.
“We have a lot more confidence right now. That first win was a confidence booster for us as a team,” senior Blayden Rhone said after the opening win Monday. “We have a lot of positive energy around the team.”
Rhone, who has settled into playing right field for Newton, delivered a decisive hit in a come-from-behind win in the first game. Pella Christian’s Eagles had scored single runs in the third and fourth innings to take a 2-1 lead.
In the bottom of the sixth, senior Trevor Ergenbright singled and stole second base and went to third on a ground-out by junior Ryan Barr. Ergenbright scored the tying run on a passed ball.
Sophomore Julian Hotchkin reached on an Eagle error advancing all the way to second base. Junior Jacob Murphy singled then Rhone tripled to the center field fence to drive in two runs and put Newton in front for good.
“I just saw it right down the pipe and just swung the bat. We’ve been practicing hitting every day and I smoked the pitch,” Rhone said. “I’m comfortable at the plate right now. We’ve changed my swing a bit and my batting stance.”
Rhone had three hits in the two games and drove in four runs in the victories. He said the Cardinals were starting to build some momentum as a team at the plate and overall.
With Rhone at third, Newton was finished in the sixth inning of the opener. He scored on a wild pitch and senior Cole Cazett doubled. There were two outs when junior Ben Leal drew a walk and senior Jaron Roush reached on an error as a run scored.
When the dust settled, the Cardinals were up 6-2 over the Eagles.Barr, Newton’s starting pitcher, got into a bit of jam in the seventh, and Leal came on in relief. The Eagles scored a run but that was it.
Barr got the pitching victory, going 6 2/3 innings, allowing three runs on five hits and three walks. He struck out four. Leal walked one and got the final out.
Leal would close out the second game for Newton also. Starter Taylor Greiner went 6 1/3 innings for the win, giving up four runs on six hits and two walks. Greiner struck out five Eagle batters. Leal walked two in the top of the seventh but did not allow a run.
“I’m very happy with the way things went tonight. Ryan and Taylor gave us a heck of start in their games, throwing strikes and being around the zone. Ben coming in both games to close them out for us,” Newton head coach Dustin Brisel said. “Our defense did a solid job of backing them up.”
Newton jumped out in front in the second game with a run in the first inning. With two gone, Ergenbright reached on an error and Rhone doubled him home.
In the second inning, Ty Arguello, who is back from an ankle injury, singled and Luke Maharry went in as a courtesy runner. Murphy put down a sacrifice bunt and Cazett had an RBI double. Sophomore Taylor Danley singled to drive in a run.
The Cardinals added a run in the third frame and two more in the fifth for build a 6-0 lead. The Eagles made things interesting down the stretch with a three-run sixth and run in the seventh.
“Our bats are starting to get hot again with the guys putting some good quality swings on pitches,” Brisel said. “We’re running the bases well and putting pressure on defenses. We’re playing the game right — if we do the little things right, good things will happen.”
In the first game, Newton had seven hits led by Cazett with a single and a double. Rhone had a triple while Roush, Ergenbright, Hotchkin and Murphy each had a single.
Rhone delivered a single and a double in the nightcap and Arguello had two singles. Cazett doubled. Hitting a single each were Roush, Ergenbright, Hotchkin and Danley.
Newton plays at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday in LHC action at Indianola.
Contact Jocelyn Sheets at
641-792-3121 ext. 6535 or firstname.lastname@example.org