After another close loss, the Newton Rebels found a way to get things done and salvage a twinbill split against the Wichita Aviators Wednesday in Walter Johnson League play at Klein-Scott Field.
Newton lost the first game 3-0, extending the team's losing streak to five games. In the second game, a wild pitch with two outs and bases loaded in the bottom of the seventh gave the Rebels a 3-2 win.
Newton is 11-8, 10-8 in Walter Johnson League play.
"We finally did the little things right," Newton manager Brad Salsman said. "We've had runners at second and third so many times during this losing streak. It literally takes just one guy putting it in play up the middle to get the job done."
Newton outhit Wichita 5-2 in the first game, but was outhit 4-3 in the second game.
"There were not a lot of hits today, but I was still pleased with the guys' approach," Salsman said. "We started getting some line drives, we were working counts. We hit some baseballs hard. We made an adjustment the last couple of days to get the ball out of the air."
In the second game, Wichita scored both runs in the second inning on a pair of hits and a pair of walks. Newton came back in the bottom of the third, when Mason Marshall doubled and went to third on an error. A Matt Moreland ground out scored Marshall.
Newton tied the game in the bottom of the fifth, when Nick Kolley singled, went to second on a Evan Thomas bunt, went to third on a wild pitch and scored on a Marshall sacrifice fly.
Newton kept the game tied in the top of the sixth when the Aviators led off with a Nick Walker double and a walk.
Newton starter Dylan Gadberry was lifted for Newton High grad Alec Stahly. An Aviator bunt attempt was caught by first baseman Gene Nanney. Both runners still advanced when Nanney's throw to first for a double-play attempt was wide.
Wichita's Sam Murphy hit a one-hopper to second baseman Toby Cornejo, who'se throw to home was in time to tag out Walker. A ground out to short ended the threat.
In the bottom of the seventh, Nanney led off with a walk. Wichita starter Luke Pepple was then lifted for Travis Leverett. Kolley bunted Nanney to second. After a pop fly to first base, Marshall drew a walk and Moreland was hit by a pitch. Justin Harris took a ball low. The next pitch went to the backstop, allowing Nanney to score and end the game.
Dillon Youngman had both RBIs for Wichita.
Pepple took the loss for the Aviators. Stahly got the win for Newton.
In the first game, Wichita scored all of its runs in the top of the sixth. Nate Fraley led off by grounding into an error. Blake Crowe was then hit by a pitch. A bunt attempt by Andrews led to an out at third base. Cody Groskruetz tripled to score both runners. Walker then singled to score Groskruetz.
Newton left two runners stranded in the bottom of the sixth. The Rebels got out of a bases-loaded, no-out jam in the top of the seventh on a 1-2-3 double play and a ground out to third base. The Rebels went in order in the bottom of the seventh.
Kolley finished the game two for three hitting. Nathan Briar took the loss in relief of Connor Law. Each struck out three batters. Cameron Clements and Tyler Bishop closed out the game for the Rebels.
Jagger Harjo went the distance for Wichita, allowing five hits, two walks and five strikeouts.
Newton is on the road the next three games — 7 p.m. today at Valley Center, 7:30 p.m. Friday at Hutchinson and 7 p.m. Saturday at Valley Center.
Newton hosts Topeka at 3 p.m. Sunday in a doubleheader.
"We've got Valley Center, Hutch and Topeka coming up" Salsman said. "They are all competing for the top spot. Our pitching is in pretty good shape. Gadberry got us to the sixth and Stahly did a great job of coming in and shutting the door. We have our one, two and three coming up, so we're looking for some good innings out of them."
Wichita 000 003 0 —3 2 2
Newton 000 000 0 —0 5 2
Harjo (W) and Walker; Law, Briar (L) 5, Clements 7, Bishop 7 and n/a.
Wichita 020 000 0 —2 4 1
Newton 001 010 1 —3 3 2
Pepple (L), Leverett 7 and Andrews; Gadberry, Stahly (W) and Marshall.