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Local Sports

Thayer hits 3-run home runs in Newton’s sweep of Eagles

Not once but twice did Maddison Thayer deliver at the plate for Newton High’s Cardinal softball team on Monday night. On back-to-back at-bats, the Cardinal junior hit three-run home runs to lift Newton to an 8-3 win over visiting Pella Christian.

That came in the nightcap of the Little Hawkeye Conference doubleheader hosted by the Class 4A 13th-ranked Cardinals at Newton Softball Field. Newton swept the visiting Eagles after a 9-0 victory in the opening game.

Pella Christian took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning of the second game. Newton responded with a four-run bottom of the first.

Junior Mackensie Brown led off with a triple to right field and scored the tying run on a sacrifice burn by senior Karley Leiker. Taylor Ryan, a senior, was hit by a pitch and junior Rilee Slycord had a base hit, but Ryan was tagged out attempting to go to third on the play.

Emily Valtman, a junior, drew a walk to put two runners on when Thayer came to the plate. Thayer had two strikes on her when she drove a pitch from Pella Christian’s Alexa Dunsbergen over the center field fence.

Newton was up 4-2 after two innings in the game. Slycord had a one-out single in the third inning with senior Mackenize Johnson going in as a courtesy runner. Valtman reached on an error to set things up for Thayer once again. Thayer hit a 3-2 pitch over the fence to push Newton’s lead to 7-3.

The Cardinals added a run in the fourth inning. Senior Kennedy Leiker walked and senior Audrey Lucas went in as a courtesy runner. Brown put down a sacrifice bunt to move Lucas to second base. Karley Leiker walked and Lucas scored on an error.

Pella Christian used three straight singles to produce its final run in the fifth. Newton junior Anna Coyle was the winning pitcher. She allowed nine hits, walked three and struck out five.

Thayer drove in six runs on her two home runs. Slycord had two singles, Brown tripled and senior Harlie Durr singled.

In the opening game, Newton steadily built its lead with one run in the first inning, two in the second and single runs in the third and fifth innings. Up 5-0, the Cardinals scored four times in the sixth for the final margin.

Brown began the run for Newton with a double in the first inning, moved to third on a sacrifice bunt by Karley Leiker and scored on a single by Ryan. In the second frame, Valtman got things started with a one-out base hit followed by a walk to Durr. The two Cardinal base runners pulled a double steal so when Lucas reached on an error both scored.

Karley Leiker was hit by a pitch leading off the third inning for Newton. Slycord had an RBI single with one gone. In the fifth inning, Brown singled, stole second and moved to third on a ground-out by Ryan. Slycord drove her home on a single.

Valtman was hit by a pitch in the sixth inning. With two outs, Lucas delivered an RBI double then Brown traded places with Lucas with a run-scoring double.

Karley Leiker’s single helped produce a run and she ended up at second on a throwing error. Sophomore Malarie Zach had apinch-hit single and a run scored.

Pella Christian had base runners on in the top of the seventh but the game ended on a double play. A pop-up was caught by Johnson, who doubled off the Eagle runner at first base.

Junior Peyton Maher went the distance in the circle for Newton. She allowed five hits, walked two, hit a batter and struck out four.

Brown was 3-for-4 at the plate with two doubles and a single to lead the Cardinal offense. Slycord hit two singles and Lucas had a double. Hitting a single apiece were Karley Leiker, Ryan, Zach and Valtman.

Newton, which has won four in a row, improved to 6-2 in Little Hawkeye Conference after dropping their previous two conference contests. The Cardinals (12-2) play at 7:15 p.m. Wednesday in LHC action at Indianola.

Contact Jocelyn Sheets at
641-792-3121 ext. 6535
or jsheets@newtondailynews.com

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