McPHERSON — They say never begrudge a good outcome.
That's sage advice for the Newton Senior Knights, which edged out a 7-5 win in 11 innings over McPherson in the semifinals of the Kansas American Legion Class AAA, Zone 5 Tournament Tuesday afternoon at the Grant Sports Complex in McPherson.
Newton plays in the finals scheduled for 4 p.m. today against the winner of the Buhler-McPherson game. That game was under rain delay at deadline. The Buhler-McPherson winner must beat Newton twice to advance to state.
"We found a way to get it done," Newton manager Andy Preston said. "That's the most important thing. We had a little adversity. We may have made it longer than it should have been. I'm going to be staring at the ceiling fan tonight. I left Ben Wright in too long. He's our best guy. (Garrett) Higgins probably had the biggest hit in the game. It was the only extra-base hit they got.
"We never gave up. We ran the bases well. We ran some plays. Fortunately, they threw the ball away a couple times. That was the difference in the game — our running the bases and taking advantage of mistakes."
Austin Resser led Newton at the plate, going three for five with two RBIs. Tucker Sweely went two for five hitting.
Higgins, a Moundridge High School player, went two for four to lead McPherson with two RBIs. Steven Gonzalez went two for five.
Wyatt Burbrink got the win in relief of Wright. Burbrink went 3 1-3 innings, allowing a hit with a walk and three strikeouts. Keil Stauffer got the save, pitching the bottom of the 11th. Stauffer struck out the leadoff batter, but then gave up a walk, got a ground out, gave up another walk and posted a ground out to end the game.
"Wyatt threw two pitches for strikes," Preston said. "He was unbelievable. I hate to bring in a pitcher cold, but he did a good job. He's a starter for us. Keil, I had to go out there and talk to him and calm hiim down, but he was throwing strikes and he got them to swing at them."
Starter Wright went 6 2-3 innings, allowing five runs on six hits with three walks and three strikeouts.
McPherson starter Steven Gonzalez went 6 1-3 innings, allowing five runs on eight hits with a walk and two strikeouts. Alex Ruxlow took the loss to finish the game.
A walk, hit batter and bunt single loaded the bases with no outs in the top of the 11th. After an infield fly, Keil Stauffer hit a deep fly ball to center field to score a run on a sacrifice fly. Newton added a run on an error
Newton opened the scoring in the top of the second with an Austin Crumrine double and a Cole Sturgeon single. Drake Sturgeon followed with a sacrifice fly to score Crumrine. McPherson replied in the bottom of the second with a leadoff walk and a two-out Isaac Peck single.
Newton regained the lead in the top of the fifth when Dakota Long doubled, went to third on a Resser single and scored on a Crumrine sacrifice fly. McPherson tied the game in the bottom of the inning with a bases-loaded walk with two outs.
McPherson took the lead in the bottom of the sixth with a leadoff walk, stolen base and two sacrifice bunts, the second a squeeze to score the run.
Newton loaded the bases with one out in the top of the seventh. Resser hit a two-run single. Newton added another run when McPherson misplayed a delayed double steal. In the bottom of the seventh, a pair of hit batters and a Higgins double tied the game.
"They had nothing to lose," Preston said. "We're the no. 1 seed. A lot of people are saying we're the team that's supposed to go to state. We beat them every time this year. It's hard to play a team three or four times a year and not lose. They were playing free and easy. It was like a boxing match. We took our punches."
Preston said Stauffer will start in the championship game.
"We don't have it made," Preston said. "We have to keep playing."
Newton ab r h bi
Stauffer p 4 1 1 1
Long ss 5 2 1 0
Drinnen 3b 5 1 1 0
Resser 1b 5 0 3 2
Crumrine lf 4 1 1 1
C.Sturgeon dh 4 1 1 0
Burbrink 2b 0 0 0 0
D.Sturgeon rf 3 1 0 1
Sweeley c 5 0 2 0
Stein cf 4 0 0 0
TOTALS 39 7 10 5
McPher. ab r h bi
Gonzalez ss 5 0 2 0
Blouin 2b 4 1 1 0
Marshall 1b 4 0 0 0
Burney 3b 4 1 0 1
DeVore cf 3 1 0 0
Higgins c 4 1 2 2
Peck rf 3 0 1 1
Schrag 1b 3 0 0 0
Ruxlow p 2 0 0 0
Likely lf 4 1 1 1
TOTALS 36 5 7 5
Newton 010 010 300 02 —7
McPher. 010 011 200 00 —5
E — Marshall, Burney. DP — Newton, McPherson. LOB — New. 7, McP. 11. 2B — Crumrine, Long, Higgins. SB — Higgins. CS — Resser. Sac. Bunt — Peck, Likely. Sac. Fly — D.Sturgeon, Crumrine.
ip h r er bb k
Wright 6.2 6 5 5 3 3
Burbrink, W 3.1 1 0 0 1 3
Stauffer, S 1 0 0 0 2 1
ip h r er bb k
Gonzalez 6.1 8 5 5 1 2
Ruxlow, L 4.2 2 2 1 1 1
WP — Gonzalez 3, Stauffer. HBP — Stein (Gonzalez), Stauffer (Gonzalez), DeVore 2 (Wright 2), Marshall (Wright), Blouin (Wright), D.Sturgeon (Ruxlow). Time — 2:37.