The Newton Senior Knights hit, ran bases, played defense and threw strikes, claiming a 19-2 win over the Andover Trojans Thursday in the semifinals of the Kansas American Legion Class AAA, Zone 5 Tournament at Klein-Scott Field.


The Newton Senior Knights hit, ran bases, played defense and threw strikes, claiming a 19-2 win over the Andover Trojans Thursday in the semifinals of the Kansas American Legion Class AAA, Zone 5 Tournament at Klein-Scott Field.

The game was halted after seven innings on the 10-run rule.

Newton, 24-15, plays in the championship game against Andover at 5 p.m. today needing just one win to advance to state. Andover, 14-27, will need to beat Newton twice to advance.

“On offense, we executed pretty well today,” Newton manager Andy Preston said. “I thought we ran the bases well. We bunted well. We played small ball and that led to big innings. I’m proud of the guys.”

Austin Gronau went 5 1-3 innings for Newton, allowing an earned run on one hit with three walks and six strikeouts. Peyton Dahl finished the game, allowing one hit and striking out two.

“It was nice that Austin went five-plus,” Preston said. “We saw that he was struggling. We let him face a lefty. He got the strikeout, then Peyton Dahl came in and got the job done. Winning by run-rule was important. We got to shorten the game and save arms.”

Kyle Vogt took the loss for Andover. Forrest Scott finished the game.

Gronau, Gunar Drinnin, Austin Resser, Dakota Stein and Austin Crumrine each had two hits for Newton. Resser and Tucker Sweely each drove in three runs. Gronau, Stauffer and Peyton Dahl each drove in two runs.

Newton had a full roster of 18 players for the first time this season. The Knights brought up two players from the Junior Knights.

“It’s a little bit scary,” Preston said. “The guys are understanding their roles. We talked about it today. Just because you’re not playing doesn’t mean you’re not a good player. Every guy should know, you’re one pitch away from getting in the game. Every one needs to be focused the whole time. Everybody contributed. The guys who didn’t play had good attitudes. It’s tough

The Knights scored in each of the first four innings, scoring four runs in the fourth inning to take an 8-1 lead. A walk and two singles led to an Andover run in the bottom of the fourth. Newton replied with a run in the top of the fifth and four more in the sixth.

Andover had runners at first and third with no outs in the bottom of the sixth, but two strikeouts and a pop fly to second base ended the threat.

Walks and hit batters led to six Newton runs in the top of the seventh.

“This is the most focused we’ve been all season,” Preston said. “When I walked out on the field today, you could tell that. You could see in their eyes that they were ready to play. They wanted to get this win and get a step closer to state. We’re not there yet.

“It will be the same formula tomorrow — throw strikes and get a lead. We need to keep chipping away every inning. ... When we take teams lightly, we get in trouble. We have to stay focused with every pitch.”

In the consolation semifinals, Andover took a 9-1 lead in the first inning and held on for an 18-15 win over Butler County rival Augusta Orioles. Andover came close to winning the game by the 10-run rule late, but the Orioles kept coming back.

Augusta left 18 runners on base, including the game-tying runs in the top of the ninth.

Andover’s J.J. Poulus went fourwent four for five, hitting for the cycle. He hit a solo home run with one out in the bottom of the seventh inning. Jarrett Coulter went two for three hitting with three RBIs. Miles Starks and Cooper Nichols each went two for four with an RBI. Matt Seagraves went two for three.

Coulter pitched 5 2-3 innings of relief for the win, striking out four. Nichols pitched the final four outs for the save.

For Augusta, 9-21, starter Alex Brown took the loss, allowing nine runs. Hunter Roberts, Ryan Bevan and Brandon Smith all took time pitching.

Bevan went three for five hitting with three RBIs. Roberts went two for five with three RBIs. Brown and Tanner Line each went two for five with two RBIs. Chad Izzo went two for five with three runs scored. Owen Shigley went three for seven with two RBIs.