The Newton High School baseball team used a good inning for a win in the first game against Valley Center and had a couple bad innings for a loss in the second game.
The Railers split the season opener Thursday at Klein-Scott Field, winning the first game 4-0 and losing the second game 9-4.
“We did a good job in the first game of pounding the zone, mixing in pitches,” Newton coach Mark George said. “Matt Eldridge did a phenominal job on the mound. We executed very well. Defensively, we played very good on the infield and the outfield. We managed to plate some runs when we needed to. Valley Center has some pretty good talent. I think they’re going to have a pretty good year. But these are match-ups we needed sweep.”
In the first game, Alex Kern singled in the bottom of the second inning, went two bases on walks and scored on an error. In the third inning, Warren Dietz reached base on an error. The next two batters walked. Newton scored a run on a wild pitch and two runs on errors.
Eldridge pitched six innings for the win, allowing two hits with a walk and a strikeout. Josh Hansen finished the game, allowing a pair of hits with a strikeout.
Wyatt Jones went the distance for Valley Center, allowing one earned run on three hits with five walks and six strikeouts.
No player had more than one hit in the game.
“In the second game, we didn’t compete as well as we needed to,” George said. “We did well out of the gate. In the first half of the game, we’re having good quality at bats. In the second half of the game, we didn’t have as many quality at bats. We had something like seven strikeouts in our last 12 outs. That can’t happen. When you look at our ability to protect the double play or keep the double play in tact, we did not do well. We put our pitchers in stressful situations because they were on second and third or first and third.”
In the second game, Kadin Pearson and Chandler Henkelman each had an RBI hit for the Hornets in the top of the first inning. Kern drew a bases-loaded walk and Matt Seirer was hit by a pitch with bases loaded to tie the game in the bottom of the first.
Valley Center scored four runs on four hits with a walk in the top of the second. Newton came back with a run on an error in the fourth inning and a Christian Malcolm RBI single in the fifth.
The Hornets put things away in the sixth inning, scoring three runs on two hits with a walk and a dropped third strike.
Henklelman finished two for four hitting with three RBIs. Aaron Diehl went two for four with two RBIs. Zach Gillig drove in two runs without a hit. Colten Richardson went three for four hitting. Pearson finished two for two with two RBIs.
Carson Berschauer went five innings for the win, allowing three earned runs on six hits with three walks and five strikeouts. Pearson pitched the last two innings for the save, striking out four.
Deitz took the loss for Newton, going 2.2 innings. Zach Kennell, Gavin Cusick and Kern all pitched. Kern struck out four batters in 1.2 innings.
“Some guys had really good nights,” George said. “Alex Kern has a really good night at second base. Matt Seirer had a nice night at third base. He protected the ball really well. Zach Kennell came out and competed and gave us three solid innings on the mound.”
Newton takes on Wichita Southeast and Wichita Trinity Academy at 2 p.m. Tuesday in a triangular at the West Urban Baseball Complex in Wichita.
“We’ll get better,” George said. “We need to find a way to improve on some of our deficiencies. If that’s the worse thing, then we have a very good ability to get better.”
Jones (L, 0-1) and Richardson; Eldridge (W, 1-0), Hansen 7 and B.Cusick.
Berschauer (W, 1-0), Pearson (S, 1) 6 and Richardson; Dietz (L, 0-1), Kennell 3, Cusick 6, Kern 6 and B.Cusick.