Newton High’s Cardinals started their bid for a second straight trip to the Iowa Class 4A state softball tournament with a 2-1 walk-off win over visiting Bondurant-Farrar.
The two teams were matched up well in Thursday night’s Class 4A Region 1 quarterfinal at Newton Softball Field. They had almost identical regular-season marks — Newton 17-15 and Bondurant-Farrar 17-18.
The teams played four scoreless innings until Newton broke through in the bottom of the fifth. And it was the middle and lower half of the Cardinal batting order which came through.
“I told our kids we needed to get something out of the lower end of our lineup. We need to get on base and move runners to third base,” Newton head coach Casey Price said. “If we get them to third, something’s going to happen.
“And that’s what happened both times tonight when we scored.”
Chassidy Henwood was hit by a pitch to start the inning. Malarie Zach, who is sixth in the batting order, delivered a sacrifice bunt to move Henwood to second.
Kameron Johnston’s groundout pushed Henwood to third.
“Our coaches tell us to be smart when we get on base,” Henwood said. “When I was at third, Coach Price told me if there was a passed ball, I was scoring.”
With two out and Makayla Johnson at the plate, the Blue Jays handed Henwood an opportunity to score. A pitch got past the B-F catcher and Henwood used her speed to get Newton on the scoreboard.
It was 1-0 but the Blue Jays took advantage of Newton’s second error of the game. Megan Murphy hit a single with two gone in the top of the sixth and ended up at second base.
Katelyn Lappe reached on an errant throw to first and Murphy scored to tie the game.
The Cardinals worked two walks out of relief pitcher Riley Gilroy in the bottom of the sixth. Gilroy and the Jays retired the next two batters.
Newton pitcher Peyton Maher coaxed a popup from Josie Carter to start the seventh. Then Maher recorded her fifth and sixth strikeouts of the game.
Zach drew a walk to lead off the bottom of the seventh inning. Maggie Garrett went in as courtesy runner for the Cardinal catcher. Johnson got a base-on-balls with one out then Kya Butler’s bunt moved the runners to third and second.
“I just knew the game was in my hands. She had struck me out earlier on her rise ball so I wanted to layoff that,” Mac Brown said. “I was looking for the right pitch.”
Brown turned on a pitch and hit it hard between third and shortstop. The Jays’ shortstop made a play but the ball got past her. Garrett scored the winning run on the error.
“I was due to hit the ball like that. I got to first base and I was sure the game was over but it really didn’t hit me until everybody came out to celebrate,” Brown said.
The 2-1 victory sets up a 2018 state tournament semifinal rematch with now 4A second-ranked ADM (27-6). Newton (18-15) plays in the 4A Region 1 semifinals at 7 p.m. Saturday at Adel.
ADM edged Newton 9-8 in the 2018 state semifinals but ADM was the state tournament runner-up and Newton went on to capture third.
“It’s going to take a lot of teamwork to get past ADM,” Brown said. “We have a lot of work to do Friday in practice. We’re getting better playing together after we struggled a bit this year.”
Price said the Cardinals are starting to come together well. She said she thinks they have found the right fit in the field as they head into the playoffs.
“We also have some kids on the bench who can help us,” Price said. “We’re looking forward to the rematch with ADM. It’s going to be a good game on Saturday.
Maher allowed three hits in Thursday’s win against Bondurant-Farrar. Gilroy took the loss for the Blue Jays, going 1 2/3 innings, giving up one run on four walks and had one strikeout.
B-F starting pitcher Lauren Osborn threw five innings. She was charged with one run on two hits, one walk and one hit batter. She had three strikeouts.
Brown and Butler had singles for Newton. Each team committed two errors.
Contact Jocelyn Sheets at
641-792-3121 ext. 6535