June 20, 2021

Late rally not quite enough for Newton softball

Cardinals score eight in the seventh, suffer narrow loss to Eagles

PELLA — Newton’s softball team led Pella Christian through four innings on Wednesday during a Little Hawkeye Conference road game for the Cardinals.

The Eagles broke through by scoring 10 of their 11 runs in two innings and held off a late rally by Newton during an 11-10 victory.

The Cardinals trailed 11-2 after six innings but scored eight runs in the seventh to make the Eagles sweat a little. The tying run was 60 feet away as Newton stranded the bases loaded.

“We made a ton of mistakes and in doing so we kept digging a hole and getting further behind,” Newton softball coach Kory Leiker said. “They responded to what I had to say to them, which was remarkable. It shows the true character of a team to fight for each other when our backs are against the wall.”

Newton (7-6 overall, 2-4 in conference play) led 2-0 after three innings.

The Eagles (9-5, 2-2) scored one in the fourth to inch closer but then plated four in the fifth and six in the sixth to grab a lead they likely expected to be large enough.

The Cardinals out-hit Pella Christian 9-7 but committed five errors.

Newton used four pitchers in the game and they walked six batters on top of allowing seven hits.

Kallie VanKley started and took the loss after allowing four runs — none earned — on three hits with three walks in 4 1/3 innings.

Nevara Gray and Tallyn Seitz both got two outs. Gray allowed four runs — two earned — on two hits and Seitz surrendered only a walk.

Hailey Sumpter also pitched, allowing three earned runs on two hits with one strikeout and two walks in 1/3 of an inning.

Maggie Garrett and VanKley each had two hits to lead the offense. Garrett also chipped in one run, one RBI and one walk.

Chassidy Henwood, Jazlynn Cooper, Gray, Kadance Ahn and Chloe Swank recorded the other hits.

Henwood scored two runs, walked twice and stole a base, Cooper had one run, one RBI and was hit by a pitch and Gray doubled, scored a run and had one RBI.

Ahn and Swank each finished with two RBIs, Ahn scored a run and Swank walked once.

Katelyn Lambert drew three walks, scored one run, had one RBI and stole a base. Kya Butler was hit by two more pitches and scored one run and Haylie Ryan and Paige Benson both scored one run as courtesy runners.

“This team is on the brink of something great,” Leiker said. “Only time will tell. For six innings, we couldn’t find the answers, but in the end it’s like someone gave us the answer key. No matter what, we will not give up until the last out.”