PITTSBURG — The Newton Senior Knights haven’t allowed six home runs total in probably the last two or three seasons combined.
Pittsburg Post 64 did that in a single game Wednesday night, beating Newton 22-4 in the first round of the American Legion Class AAA State Tournament at JayCee Field in Pittsburg.
Newton, 19-12, takes on Winfield about 1 p.m. today in consolation round play.
“I think, pitching-wise, we did the best we could,” Newton manager Mark George said. “We tried to mix two pitches in for strikes. We didn’t do too bad of a job. Pittsburg is a good-hitting club. They were solid from top to bottom — they were bigger, stronger kids. They were more mature than us. They have a little bit different experience than we do. Most of their roster are going to be sophomores in college. Our guys still competed. They still did their best. Against these guys, we would have had to play immaculate ball, and we would have had to get a little lucky.”
Adam McCormack led the Pittsburg offensive onslaught, going five for five at the plate with three home runs, five runs scored and six RBIs. Jesse Watt went four for six with a home run, five runs scored and three RBIs. Stuart Jeck went three for four with three runs scored, a single, a triple, a home run and three RBIs. Zach White went two for three with a home run, two runs scored and three RBIs.
Starting pitcher Brandon Spear went three innings, allowing a run on two hits with no walks and seven strikeouts. Joe Saia finished the game, allowing three runs on four hits with two walks and three strikeouts.
Things didn’t go well for Newton from the start. The second pitch of the game was driven over the wall by Pittsburg’s leadoff batter White. Pittsburg added two more runs in the inning, aided by an error. Jeck jacked a two-run shot with one out in the top of the second. Watt followed with a two-run shot that bounced off the top of the left center field wall. Pittsburg added one more run in the inning to take an 8-0 lead.
Newton used a pair of hits in the bottom of the second to score a run.
The game was effectively ended in the third inning when Pittsburg scored six runs. Adam McCormack hit a two-run homer. McCormack hit a three-run shot in the top of the fourth.
Kevin Ronen cleared the fence for the Knights in the bottom of the fourth for a two-run shot.
“It was a pretty good curveball,” George said of the Newton homer. “He kept his hands back. He managed to drive it to the right-center gap. The ball was really jumping today. I would like to think if this were played at our park, some of those balls would have stayed in. This has proved to be a hitter’s ballpark.”
The final insult against Newton came on a McCormack solo shot in the top of the seventh.
Evan Gilbert and Ronen each went two for two hitting for the Knights. Nathan Briar started and lost for the Knights. Newton used three other pitchers.
“They’re the defending state champions,” George said. “I’m not sure how many they have back from last year, but they are probably better this year than last year. We’ll be all right. We have plenty of pitchers to use tomorrow. If we make it all the way through, we’ll still be good to go. ... As we get further down the tournament, this experience will help us. One thing this team has proven is they have a short memory. They continue to fight and continue to play hard. I don’t think this loss will get us down.”
Pitts.    ab    r    h    bi
White cf    3    3    2    3
Snow 2b    3    0    0    0
Wachter c    4    1    0    0
Slavens rf    0    0    0    0
J.Watt ss    6    5    4    3
McCormck 3b    5    5    5    6
W.Watt 1b    5    0    3    3
Smith lf    6    1    1    2
Whetzell c    3    2    1    0
Elliott dh    5    2    2    1
Jeck cf    4    3    3    3
TOTALS    44    22    21    21
Newton    ab    r    h    bi
Moreland cf    3    0    0    0
Preston p    4    0    0    0
Boulet rf    4    0    1    0
Thomas ss    3    1    1    0
Ronen 1b    4    2    2    2
Bonczyk dh    2    1    0    0
Opland 3b    0    0    0    0
Gilbert lf    2    0    2    0
Glassco 2b    3    0    0    1
Garcia c    2    0    0    0
TOTALS    27    4    6    3
Pitts.    356    313    1    —22
Newton    010    300    0    —4
E — Thomas 3, Glassco, Opland. DP — Newton. LOB — Pit. 8, New. 7. 2B — White, McCormack 2, Elliott, J.Watt, Boulet, Gilbert. 3B — Jeck, Smith. HR — White, Jeck, J.Watt, McCormack 3, Ronen. SB — Moreland, Gilbert. Sac. Bunt — McCormack. Sac. Fly — W.Watt.
Pittsburg
    ip    h    r    er    bb    k
Spear, W    3    2    1    1    0    7
Saia    4    4    3    3    2    3
Newton
    ip    h    r    er    bb    k
Briar, L    1.2    8    8    6    1    0
Buchanan    2    8    9    9    1    2
Opland    1.2    3    4    2    1    4
Preston    1.2    2    1    1    2    1
WP — Spear, Buchanan, Opland 3, Saia 2. HBP — Garcia (Saia), Thomas (Saia). C.Int. — Wachter. Time — 2:29.