Railers show swagger in opening win

Mark Schnabel
The Kansan
Newton freshman pitcher Alyssa Mapes allowed two earned runs on two hits with three strikeouts in her debut against Circle. Newton won 10-3.
Circle shortstop Hailee Schropp makes a catch during play against Newton in the Valley Center Invitational. Circle fell 10-3.
Newton senior Toria Thaw went two for two hitting with a home run and three RBIs in a 10-3 win over Circle in the Valley Center Invitational.
Circle catcher Adie White tags out a Newton runner during play at Valley Center.
Newton first baseman Tegan Livesay forces out a Circle batter during play in the Valley Center Invitational.
Circle first baseman Reagan Strecker fields a throw with a Newton player in a run-down during a first-round game at the Valley Center Invitational.

VALLEY CENTER — The Newton High School softball team showed a new attitude, that included gold glitter on top of their eye black, sunflower hair clips on a couple players and a skip in their step.

The Railers returned to play after a season off, stopping Circle 10-3 Thursday in the quarterfinals of the Valley Center Invitational.

Freshman Alyssa Mapes threw 6.1 innings in her prep debut, allowing two earned runs on two hits with six walks and three strikeouts.

“I was nervous, nervous,” Mapes said. “My inside pitch was working. I throw a lot of inside pitches.”

Mapes played club softball with the Kansas Blue Sox.

“I’ve played older girls before,” Mapes said. “It’s nothing new really. I just want to pitch good and get on base.”

Newton put the exclamation point on the game with four runs in the bottom of the sixth inning. Toria Thaw hit a three-run home run to left field, followed by Tegan Livesay with a solo shot.

Thaw finished two for two hitting, while Livesay was three for four.

“I thought it was going to go foul and then it didn’t,” Thaw said. “I have no clue (what the pitch was), but I did call it. I said I was going to hit a home run. I think that’s my third (in high school). We looked pretty good. We have some improvements to make. I definitely want to improve our record from two years ago, which was six wins. I’d like to win the tournament,. That would be nice.”

“We got outhit today,” Circle coach Wes Zoch said. “That’s what I told the girls today. We didn’t make a single error in the field. We had solid defense. Our pitches were hitting their spots. Newton just outhit us. We were content to hit ground balls. They would drive the ball into the gaps. This is my first game as a head softball coach, so there will be some growing pains. We’ve got four seniors and two juniors that have any varsity playing experience. That’s rough. More than half of them play summer ball.

“Our goal is to make state, and that’s why I enjoy this tournament. It’s a good measuring stick for us. We’re a 4A school and we get to play bigger 5A and 6A schools just to see what it takes to see what makes those teams tick.” 

A dropped fly ball to the first batter of the game led to a Circle run. Newton came back with a run in the bottom of the first on a Livesay single.

Newton added three runs in the bottom of the second — one on a delayed double steal and two on a Mallory Seirer double. Abby Koontz hit a two-run double in the fifth inning.

Seirer finished three for four with two doubles.

Circle rallied were killed with double plays in the second and third innings.

Three walks, a single and a hit batter led to a Circle run in the top of the seventh.  Livesay came in and struck out two batters to end the threat.

Dylan Erwein took the loss for the Thunderbird, striking out four.

Newton plays the winner between Valley Center and Wichita Southeast at 6 p.m. Friday. Circle plays the loser of that clash at 4 p.m. Friday.


Friesen lf;3;1;0;0

Schropp ss;3;0;0;0

White c;3;0;0;0

Tandy cf;2;1;0;0

Badkin dh;1;0;0;0

Harris ph:1;1;1;0

Strecker 1b;2;0;0;0

Parish 3b;1;0;1;1

Glumartin rf;3;0;0;0

Patty 2b;0;0;0;1



Cusick cf;2;1;0;0

Sandoval 2b;4;1;1;0

Seirer ss;4;2;3;2

Thaw 3b;2;2;2;3

Livesay p;4;2;3;2

Mapes lf;4;0;0;0

Koontz 1b;2;0;1;2

Raines c;3;0;1;0

McCord lf;2;1;0;0

Seidl rf;0;1;0;0




E — Cusick. DP — Newton 2. LOB — Cir. 4, New. 5. 2B — Koontz, Rains, Seirer 2. HR — Thaw (1), Livesay (1). SB — Friesen 2, Parish, Cusick, McCord, Seidl, Seirer. CS — Patty, Seirer. Runner’s error — Cusick. Sac. Bunt — McCord.


Erwein, L;4.2;7;6;6;5;4



Mapes, W;6.1;2;3;2;6;3


WP — Erwein. HBP — Cusick (Erwein), Friesen (Mapes), Patty 2 (Mapes, Livesay).

Mark Schnabel can be reached at mschnabel@thekansan.com