HUTCHINSON — The Hutchinson Colts and Newton Knights have now played six times so far this summer, and the two clubs have split the series 3-3.
In front of a lively crowd, the Colts rebounded from a Game 1 loss and picked up a Game 2 win — their second win in the last three games.
On Wednesday night at Rice Park, Hutchinson honored its seniors, who had their baseball season canceled by COVID-19. The crowd featured a mixture of parents and students who watched the seniors end the night with a win.
"We had a very good crowd," Hutchinson head coach Jim Preston said. "It was nice to recognize our seniors, and they did a very nice job."
In a 5-3 Game 2 victory, 2020 Hutchinson High graduate Trey Fairbank pitched his first game of the summer, went the distance in a win and struck out eight to lead the Colts.
Fairbank allowed three earned runs in the first three innings, but kept the Knights off the scoreboard in the final three innings.
"Trey Fairbank pitched very, very well," Preston said. "His dad just finished having surgery, and he performed the way a senior should perform."
Between games, the crowd recognized seniors from not only Hutchinson, but Newton, as well. Newton head coach Evan Gilbert did not know the tribute was coming, but appreciated it from the Hutchinson crowd.
"I feel bad for the seniors, because we’ve never seen anything like [COVID-19]," Gilbert said. "We want them to go out on good terms. We really did appreciate what Hutchinson did."
Down 3-0 entering the bottom of the third in the nightcap, Hutchinson erupted for four runs to take the lead. Carter Booe put the Colts on the board by scoring on a wild pitch, and Bennett Turner tied the game by hitting a ground ball to the Newton shortstop, who mishandled the ball, resulting in two runs off an error.
The Colts took a 4-3 lead off an RBI single to center filled from Nolan Cunningham.
With Fairbank on the mound, the Colts had all the offense they needed, but Kyle Elliott did give Hutchinson another run on a sacrifice fly in the fifth.
"That’s as good of a game as we’ve played," Preston said. "Newton is a quality team — we’ve beaten them three times and they’ve beaten us three times. We have the ability to be successful as long as we throw strikes, play defense and scrap across some runs."
A five-run first inning gave Newton a 10-4 win in Game 1. The Knights also tacked on two runs in the second, two in the fifth and one in the sixth for the decisive victory.
"It seems like we’re always able to jump on them in the first game, then they come back and get us in the second game," Gilbert said. "Tip the cap to Hutchinson, they don’t roll over, they battle all the way through."
Both teams travel to McPherson this weekend for a 16-team tournament. Hutchinson opens the tournament against Great Bend and Kingman, while Newton will face Pratt and McPherson on Friday.
"Great Bend is a quality club, and Kingman will be a good team, too," Preston said.
"Should be some good games, we’ll have to come ready to play," Gilbert said.
Fenwick, Golubski (W) 4, Loomis 6 and Ruggiero; Radloff (L), Elliott 4 and Goldsmith. HR — N: Akers (1).
Davis, Valdez (L) 3, Slechta 3 and Boston; Fairbank (W) and Goldsmith.