Senior Knights 1-3 at tourney
The Newton Senior Knights baseball team finished 1-3 at the Battle of the Wheat Tournament Friday and Saturday at Wheatland Park in Buhler.
Newton opened play with a 10-7 loss to the Buhler Nationals but rebounded with a 9-0 win over the Hutchinson Colts. Newton finished pool play Saturday with a 13-8 loss to the eventual champion Kansas Curve in eight innings and then lost the third-place game to Hutchinson 5-4.
The Curve topped Buhler 5-4 in the finals.
Against the Curve, Newton trailed 6-0 after two innings, but came back with three runs in the third. Down 8-4, Newton scored four runs in the bottom of the seventh to force extra innings.
The Curve scored five runs in the eighth and held off Newton in the bottom of the fifth.
Cade Valdez drove in three runs for Newton. Henry Claassen went two for four with a solo home run. Ian Akers, Jake Schmidt and Gavin Cusick each had two hits. Akers and Josh Edson each added an RBI.
Valdez took the loss pitching. Cusick and Joe Slechta also pitched. Cusick struck out six.
In the second game against Hutchinson, Newton scored four runs in the bottom of the second inning. Hutchinson scored a run in the top of the fifth and four runs in the seventh, holding off Newton in the bottom of the seventh for the win.
Akers had a triple and three RBIs for Newton. Trev Golubski had two hits. Schmidt drove in a run.
Ben Schmidt struck out nine batters in five innings. Carson Considine took the loss, striking out two. Kobe Burns also pitched.
Newton is 3-5 and plays at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Hutchinson at Rice Park.
Buhler 10, Newton 7
In Game 1 against host Buhler, Newton scored two runs in the top of the first and four in the top of the second. However, Buhler pitcher Reed Scott settled in from there, throwing four straight scoreless innings to help lead the Nationals to a 10-7 win.
The Buhler offense did not let Scott down, matching Newton with two in the first before scoring three in the second. The Nationals tied the game in the bottom of the fourth, then exploded for four runs in the sixth to put the game out of reach.
Buhler head coach Bret Konrade praised his pitching and defense down the stretch. After scoring six runs through the first two innings, Newton was held to one run through the final five innings.
“After the start we had, it was good to see our defense pick it up,” Konrade said. “I knew our bats were going to be there, so as long as we played well defensively the rest of the way, I knew we’d be alright.”
Newton’s Luke Boston knocked in two runs in the top of the first on an RBI single to center field. Buhler’s Graham Stephens put the Nationals on the board on an RBI groundout, and Ryan Henderson tied the game on a hard-hit ground ball to left field.
Newton scored all four of its runs in the second with two outs. Ian Akers tripled in a run, and the next at bat Josh Edson scored Akers with an RBI single. Boston recorded two more RBIs on a single to give the Knights a 6-2 lead.
Buhler clapped back with three runs — RBI singles in the innings from Cade Miller, Henderson, and Scott cut the Newton lead to one. Buhler tied the game at six in the fourth on a sacrifice fly from Noah Salazar.
Scott and Newton pitcher Camden Fenwick settled in from there. Fenwick pitched five innings while Scott pitched six. After Fenwick left the game before the start of the sixth, Buhler capitalized on the pitching change.
The Nationals took their first lead when Salazar ripped an RBI double to center field. Hunter Carson and Austin Spann both had RBIs in the inning.
Newton did its best to stage a comeback in the top of the seventh, but Buhler pitcher Corey Gilbert closed the game out by only allowing one run. Newton left runners on first and second to close the game.
Miller and Henderson led the Nationals with three hits a piece. Henderson, Salazar, and Spann all had two RBIs a piece to lead Buhler.
Newton was led by Boston, who had a game-high three hits and a game-high five RBIs.
Scott picked up the win, pitching five innings, allowing four runs, and striking out a game-high eight batters.
Newton 8, Hutchinson 0
Despite a lack of offense, Hutchinson played tough with Newton for most of the game. Newton scored twice in the top of the second on RBIs from Gavin Cusick and Ian Akers.
Hutchinson’s Kyle Elliott started on the mound and pitched four strong innings, allowing one earned run and striking out three. Elliott left in the fifth inning and Newton ran away from there.
The Knights scored two runs in the fifth, one run in the sixth, and three in the seventh for an 8-0 victory. Newton rebounded its loss to Buhler earlier in the evening.
“I told the kids to relax,” Newton manager Evan Gilbert said. “Our plate approaches were a lot better. The kids kept it loose and had fun.”