The Newton High School softball team had a rough first game against the defending third-place team in Class 5A, but showed improvement in the second game.

Newton dropped a pair of games to Valley Center Thursday at Kelsch Field, losing the first game 20-1 in three innings on the 15-run rule. Newton stayed close early in the second game before falling 16-6 in six innings on the 10-run rule.

“In the first game, we got in such a hole with hitting, putting the ball right across the plate, and they were just launching it,” Newton coach Danny Parks said. “We dug too deep a hole to come back. They lost a lot from last year’s team, but they still have three or four really good hitters and we put the ball right where they could hit it.”

In the first game, Valley Center led off the game with an Ashley Thorne home run. Taylor Rowley and Reagan Fischer each added home runs in an 11-run Hornet inning. Valley Center added four runs in the second and five in the third.

Mallory Seirer broke the shutout with an RBI double in the bottom of the third for Newton.

Emma Anderson threw a complete-game two-hitter for Valley Center, striking out three.

Zoe Stonehouse took the loss for Newton. Josie Bacon went 2.1 innings.

Fischer finished the day two for three with both hits home runs, driving in seven. Rowley finished three for three with five RBIs. Thorne went three for three with two RBIs.

“In the second game, I like our effort a lot better. I like our pitching a lot better,” Parks said. “We mixed it up a lot better. We made a game of it, but we’re still in a rebuilding mode. We have a few more good players. We still don’t have pitching where it needs to be. That’s the key. Until we get solid pitching and we’re able to hit the ball more consistently, we’re going to struggle.”

Newton trailed 7-1 in the second game, but got back in the game with a five-run third inning. Valley scored a run in the fourth, three in the fifth and five in the sixth to end the game.

Thorne finished four for five batting with three RBIs. Rowley went two for four with three RBIs. Fischer drove in two runs. Eliza Grady went two for four with an RBI.

Seirer, Toria Thaw, Blazee Stahl, Jayden Walton and Jentry Griswald each drove in a run for Newton.

Caitlin Edwards threw 3.2 innings of relief for the win, allowing one strikeout and one walk. Grady started the game, allowing two earned runs on five hits with three strikeouts.

Stahl went the distance for Newton, allowing eight earned runs on 14 hits with three walks and six strikeouts.

Newton is 0-4 and plays Thursday at Andover Central, a Class 4A, Division I state qualifier from last season.

“They will be every bit as good as this team, if not a little better,” Parks said. “We’ll keep working on it every day. We like the group we’ve got.”

First game

Val.Ctr.;(11)45;—20;13;0

Newton;( 0)01;—1;2;2

Anderson (W, 1-0) and Meyer; Stonehouse (L, 0-2), Bacon 1 and Seirer. HR — VC: Thorne, Rowley, Fisher 2.

Second game

Val.Ctr.;241;135;—16;14;3

Newton;105;000;—6;5;4

Grady, Edwards (W, 1-0) 3 and Meyer; Stahl (L, 0-2) and Seirer.