By Mark Schnabel
The Newton and Cottonwood Valley Cal Ripken Jr. Baseball teams each won a district playoff title in best-of-three series, which ended Friday night at Kelsch Field.
The Newton 10-year-old team advanced to state with a 7-6 win over Cottonwood Valley, winning the series 2-0. Cottonwood Valley won the 9-year-old district title with a 10-9 win, also winning the series 2-0.
Each game Friday ended with a walk-off hit in the bottom of the sixth inning.
The Newton 10-year olds won a close one Thursday, holding off a late Cottonwood Valley rally. Newton came back from a four-run deficit to win Friday.
“The boys have been playing together since February,” Newton coach Brandon Lies said. “They have done a lot of work. They were definitely ready for tournament play this time of the season. Our pitching was a little deeper. We have six good pitchers. Our defense played really well. (Dellen) Claassen, our shortstop, made some real nice plays to throw runners out.”
In the 10-year-old game, Cottonwood Valley opened the game with a pair of doubles and a single, with all three batters scoring. Newton used two hits and two walks to score a run in the bottom of the first.
Cottonwood Valley added a pair of runs on two hits and an error in the top of the second inning. A hit and an error in the bottom of the second led to another Newton run.
Cottonwood Valley added a run on an error in the third inning. Colby Whitsitt hit a two-run double for Newton in the bottom of the third.
In the bottom of the sixth, Newton got a leadoff walk. After a ground out and wild pitch put the runner at third, Colby Gomez hit an RBI single. Gomez scored on a Whitsitt double to tie the game.
With two outs in the bottom of the sixth inning, Nathan Barron walked and Sterling Lies was hit by a pitch. Both runners moved up on a wild pitch. Kale Degenstein singled to center to score the run and end the game.
Whitsitt finished the game two for two hitting with three RBIs. Degenstein finished two for three. Gomez finished two for four.
For Cottonwood Valley, Dawson Boldt finished three for three with two RBIs. Colin Monihen finished two for three with an RBI.
Degenstein pitched three innings of relief for the win, allowing two hits with a walk and a strikeout. Starter Sterling Lies went three innings, allowing two earned runs on five hits with five strikeouts.
Boldt went four innings for Cottonwood Valley, allowing two earned runs on six hits with two walks and four strikeouts. Levi Allen finished the game for the loss, allowing three earned runs on two hits with two walks and three strikeouts.
Newton finished 10-2 in league play in Hutchinson this summer. The team also competed in several tournaments to prepare for the post-season. Newton advances to the state tournament next weekend in Wellington.
“We played in four tournaments this year,” Lies said. “We have been working to get their competitive level up every year. We want to hand these guys off to the high school in pretty good shape. You start them off at 10, by the time they are 14, we’re handing them some seasoned kids. We have a pitcher coming back next week from vacation, so we should be in really good shape for state.”
In the 9-year-old game, Cottonwood Valley scored three runs on one hit in the bottom of the first inning. Newton came back with a pair of runs on three hits in the top of the second.
Cottonwood Valley scored a run via an error in the bottom of the second inning. Newton tied the game with a pair of runs in the top of the third on a hit batter, a single and three errors. Cottonwood Valley came back with a pair of runs on a hit with two walks and two errors in the bottom of the third.
Newton scored a run in the top of the fourth. An unassisted double play by Charlie Nusser in the bottom of the fourth stopped a Cottonwood Valley threat. Newton added four runs in the top of the fifth inning on two hits, two walks, a hit batter and an error.
Cottonwood Valley used three two-out hits with a pair of errors two walks to score three runs and tie the game.
In the bottom of the seventh, Zepher O’Hare walked, stole second, and after a strikeout, scored on a Cade Goodell single to end the game.
Wyatt Griffin went two for three hitting for Cottonwood Valley, driving in three runs. For Newton, A.J. Carbajal, Karter Gonzalez and Taylor Rickard each went two for three hitting. Rickard drove in three runs.
Wyatt Griffin pitched three innings of relief for Cottonwood Valley for the win, allowing three earned runs on six hits with three walks and seven strikeouts. Starter O’Hare went three innings, allowing three earned runs on four hits with two walks and one strikeout.
Asher Deutschendorf took the loss for Newton, allowing four earned runs on four hits with three walks. Starter Maddox Williams pitched two innings, allowing three earned runs on two hits with two walks. Isaiah Heredia pitched an inning, allowing an unearned run on one hit with three walks. All three Newton pitchers had two strikeouts each.
Both teams advance to the state tournament next weekend in Great Bend. Cottonwood Valley will earn a seed, while Newton will be unseeded.
Cot.Val. 321 000 —6 7 2
Newton 112 021 —7 8 3
Boldt, Allen (L) 6 and Wasmuth; Lies, Degenstein (W) 4 and Seirer.
Newton 022 140 —9 11 7
Cot.Val. 312 031 —10 7 7
Williams, Heredia 3, Deutschendorf (L) 4 and Perkins; O’Hare, Griffin (W) 4 and McDaniel.