There were some shaky moments for the Newton Senior Knights in the championship game of the Kansas American Legion Class AAA, Zone 5 Tournament at Klein-Scott Field, but in the end Newton was able to hold on for an 11-5 win over the Andover Trojans.


There were some shaky moments for the Newton Senior Knights in the championship game of the Kansas American Legion Class AAA, Zone 5 Tournament at Klein-Scott Field, but in the end Newton was able to hold on for an 11-5 win over the Andover Trojans.

Newton, 25-15, advances to the state tournament at 11 a.m. Wednesday at Tointon Family Stadium in Manhattan. Andover ends the season 14-28.

“It started with the sticks,” Newton manager Andy Preston said. “We were good situational hitters. We took advantage of walks. We got them on, got them over and got them in. I was proud of them offensively. Keil Stauffer threw strikes and gave us a chance to win. I was proud of his effort. He did a nice job.”

Stauffer went 5 2-3 innings for the win, allowing one earned run on four hits with four walks and six strikeouts. Newton had several innings where the Knights defense got two quick outs, but then struggled to get the third.

“We talked about that,” Preston said. “I don’t know if that’s a lack of focus. I’m proud we got out of those jams. We can’t do that at state. The defense behind him played well except for one little slip up.”

Zach Stanley and Dakota Stein finished the game for Newton. Stein struck out two.

Ben Koerner drove in three runs for Newton. Austin Gronau went two for three with a run scored and an RBI. Stauffer and Austin Resser each went two for five with a run scored and an RBI.

For Andover, J.J. Poulus went three for four with three runs scored and an RBI. Forrest Scott went two for three.

Trojan starter Cooper Nichols pitched three innings, taking the loss. Poulus and Scott finished the game.

Newton opened with a two-out RBI double by Gunar Drinnen. Andover used two singles and a run-down play to score a run in the top of the second inning.

The Knights came back with three runs in the bottom of the third. Koerner hit a two-run double, went to third on a fielder’s choice and scored on a wild pitch.

Andover threatened in the fourth inning with three two-out walks, but a pop fly to right field ended the inning. Newton came back with two runs in the bottom of the fourth.

An error and a Poulus double led to an Andover run in the top of the fifth. Newton replied with a run in the fifth and three runs in the bottom of the sixth.

Two Knight errors led to a pair of Trojan runs in the seventh inning. With one out in the top of the ninth, Andover poked out three singles to load the bases. After a strikeout, Trent Robinson then singled to score a run. A pop fly to right ended the game.

Newton opens play at state against the Salina Falcons

“Whoever it is, is going to be a very good team,” Preston said. “They will be very deserving. We know what Salina is all about. We’re going to have to keep hitting. If we can minimize on the mound, we have a good chance to win.”

Newton advances to state for the first time since 2009, when the Knights took fourth at Pittsburg. Like that tournament, Newton will play on artificial turf.