Junior Knights split in season opener

Mark Schnabel
Newton Junior Knights pitcher Owen Myers throws Tuesday against Hutchinson in the season opener at Klein-Scott Field.

The Newton Junior Knights opened the season Tuesday night under wild conditions with a split against the Hutchinson Hawks at Klein-Scott Field.

Newton won the first game 11-10, but lost the nightcap 17-8. Both games ended after five innings with a two-hour time limit.

Both teams struggled to find the strike zone with a total of 22 walks and nine hit batters in 10 innings.

“The first game, Owen Myers was the player of the game,” Newton manager Mark George said. “He chewed up innings. He threw three pitches for strikes. If we can get pitchers to throw three pitches for strikes, we should do well. I have a tremendous amount of faith in our ability to hit the baseball. Defensively, we weren’t awful. Under the conditions, it’s hard to play defense. … Overall, we had a really tremendous learning experience tonight. They guys who threw out there, I’m going to keep throwing them. We’re at a point where we can’t just throw a kid out there, give him the ball and say ‘this game is yours.’ We’re just not in that great of shape yet. We need to keep warm and keep throwing.”

“The kids played pretty hard,” Hutchinson manager Casey Sedbrook said. “The kids suffered some adversity in the first game. The one thing we have emphasized is staying together, and the kids were able to do that. Without the high school season, the kids are a little behind, so we just want to make sure they keep their arms healthy.”

The highlight of the first game was a 20-degree temperature drop from about 90 at game time to 70 at mid-game.

The first game was a see-saw battle through the first five innings. Hutchinson scored six runs in the second inning to take a 6-5 lead and extended it to 8-6.

Trailing by one in the the bottom of the fifth, Jake Schmidt hit a triple to score a run. After two intentional walks and an infield fly, Drew Barron flared a single to right just under the right fielder’s glove for the winning run.

Barron finished the game 4-for-4 hitting with two RBIs. Joel Franz, Ryan Ruggerio and Owen Myers each added two hits.

Lakin Franz had two hits and three RBIs for Hutchinson. Micah Giles had two hits and two RBIs. Brandyn Rodriguez and Blaine McGillvary each added two hits.

Schmidt faced one batter for the win for the Knights. Lakin Franz took the loss for Hutchinson.

In the second game, Hutchinson used walks and hit batters to build up an 11-5 lead through three innings. Hutchinson put the game away with six runs in the top of the fifth. Newton mounted a comeback in the bottom of the fifth, but a double play ended the rally and the game.

Giles had three hits and drove in three runs for Hutchinson. Rodriguez, Gradon Peck and Nolyn Cunningham each had two hits. Julian Graciano and Nash Wray each drove in two runs.

For Newton, Joel Franz had two hits and two RBIs. Schmidt also drove in two runs.

Bently Eckhoff struck out five in three innings for the win. Leyton Reneau finished the game.

Joe Slechta took the loss for Newton. The Knights used three other pitchers.

Newton travels to Emporia at 6 p.m. Thursday at Soden’s Grove.

“We just need to continue to worry about ourselves, worry about throwing strikes and having a good approach at the plate,” George said. “We need to take care of the baseball when the ball is hit to us.”

Hutchinson, 1-5-1, hosts Salina at 6 p.m. Wednesday at Rice Park. Hutchinson was swept by Salina in the season opener.

“We had a chance against them and it didn’t go to well against them,” Sedbrook said. “We hope it goes better tomorrow.”

First game


Wray ss;3;1;0;1

L.Franz 1b;3;0;2;3

Cunningham p;3;0;0;0

Graciano 3b;3;1;1;0

Hogan rf;3;0;0;0

Rodriguez cf;3;2;2;1

Seitz c;2;1;1;0

Eckhoff cr;0;1;0;0

McGillvary 2b;2;3;2;0

Giles lf;2;1;2;2



J.Franz cf;2;2;2;1

Valdez ss;1;2;0;0

Barron p;4;1;4;2

Considine 1b;2;0;0;0

Hirsh rf;2;0;0;1

Mick 2b;1;0;0;1

Slechta 3b;3;0;0;0

Ruggerio c;3;2;2;0

Klug lf;0;0;0;0

Myers p;2;0;2;0

Schmidt p;1;4;1;1

Livesay eh;2;0;0;1




There were two outs when the winning run scored.

E — L.Franz, Hogan, Cunningham, Seitz, Barron, Ruggerio. LOB — Hut. 3, New. 8. 2B — L.Franz, Graciano, J.Franz, Ruggerio. 3B — Schmidt. SB — Seitz, Rodriguez 2, Schmidt 2, Barron, J.Franz 2, Valdez. CS — J.Franz, Giles. Sac. Bunt — Mick. Sac. Fly — Mick.





L.Franz, L;.2;3;2;2;2;0





Schmidt, W;.1;0;0;0;0;0

WP — Cunningham 4, Myers 2. PB — Seitz 2. HBP — Valdez 2 (Cunningham, Graciano). IBB — Livesay (L.Franz), J.Franz (L.Franz). Time — 2:00.

Second game


Giles 2b;4;2;3;3

L.Franz c;2;1;1;1

Graciano 1b;2;1;1;2

Rodriguez lf;4;1;2;1

Peck eh;3;3;2;0

Cunningham cf;3;0;2;0

Jordan ph;1;0;0;0

Hogan rf;1;2;0;0

Albert ph;0;0;0;1

McGillvary 3b;1;2;0;1

Traylor ph;1;0;0;0

Eckhoff p;2;2;0;0

Smith ph;1;0;0;0

Wray ss;0;3;0;2



J.Franz cf;4;1;2;2

Valdez ss;3;1;1;0

Barron lf;3;1;1;0

Schmidt 3b;2;0;1;2

Ybarra 1b;1;1;0;0

Schultz c;3;0;0;0

Slechta p;0;1;0;0

Considine p;0;0;0;0

Livesay p;1;0;0;0

Ruggerio p;0;0;0;0

Nash 2b;2;1;1;0

Mick ph;1;1;1;0

Klug rf;2;0;1;1

Gates eh;2;0;0;0

Myers ph;1;0;1;0




E — Giles 2, McGillvary, Valdez, Eckhoff, Livesay, Schmidt, Ybarra. DP — Newton, Hutchinson. LOB — Hut. 7, New. 10. 2B — J.Franz 2, Garciano, Giles. SB — Wray, L.Franz, Cunningham, Peck 2, Schmidt 2, Barron 2, J.Franz 3, Valdez. Sac. Bunt — L.Franz. Sac. Fly — Schmidt, Albert.



Eckhoff, W;3;6;6;4;3;5




Slechta, L;2;3;5;5;4;2




Considine faced four batters in the third inning. Eckhoff faced two batters in the fourth inning. Livesay faced six batters in the fifth inning.

WP — Eckhoff, Ruggerio, Slechta. Balk — Slechta, Eckhoff. HBP — Wray (Slechta), Graciano 2 (Slechta, Livesay), Valdez (Eckhoff), Peck (Considine), Livesay (Eckhoff), Ybarra (Reneau). Time — 2:00.

Newton Junior Knight Carson Considine runs to first base during play Tuesday against Hutchinson.