Fifth inning hampers Railer baseball team

Mark Schnabel
The Kansan
Newton junior Drew Barron dives back to base to avoid a pickoff attempt during play Monday at Klein-Scott Field. Newton opens regional play next week.
Newton senior Ian Akers snags a fly ball during play Monday against Maize South.
Newton junior Konner Jaso awaits a throw during play Monday against Maize South. The Railers fell to the Mavericks 8-3.
Newton junior Cade Valdez makes a throw to first during play Monday at Klein-Scott Field.
Newton junior Owen Mick takes a cut at a pitch during play Monday against Maize South. Mick got a base hit on the swing.

As the Newton High School baseball team resumed its suspended game against Maize South Monday at Klein-Scott Field, the Railers were a little bit behind the eight-ball.

Down 2-0 with one out in the top of the fourth and a runner on third, Newton got out of the jam allowing just the run. It was the five-run fifth inning that spelled the Railers’ undoing in an 8-3 loss to the Mavericks in AV-CTL I play.

“The one thing thing we talked about as a team is strike one is important,” Newton coach Mark George said. “We have to recognize the fact that the team we played tonight was a really good fastball hitting team. We have to make sure we maintain our philosophy of any pitch in any count. That allows us to mix and allows us to work with any pitching staff we have. The tail here, in that fifth inning, we gave them too many free bases. That was predicated on getting that third out. We had a chance to get an out at the plate. That takes care of a run. We had a chance to get an out on a ground ball the short way. We had a chance to catch a fly ball. It was a weird situation, having the fourth inning as the first inning, but we still have to be ready to play. We have to get better at eliminating free bases. A team like that is going to get their hits. We just have to limit how many bases they get when they get their hits.”

Owen Clyne, Harper Kennedy, Colin Johnson and Colin Shields all went two for four hitting for South.

Ian Akers went two for four for Newton.

Kennedy threw two innings of relief for South to get the win. Starter Isaac Epp struck out five in three innings. Beau Grant finished the game, not allowing a baserunner in two innings.

Joe Slechta took the loss for Newton, striking out two in 4.2 innings. Cade Valdez finished the game, striking out two.

When the game resumed, Joe Slechta posted strikeout for the second out, but Clyne hit an RBI double.

In the top of the fifth, South got a pair of one-out singles, scoring on a Kaden Bratney suicide squeeze bunt. An error allowed South to score four more runs.

Newton opened the bottom of the fifth with four straight singles to score a run. South turned a double play that the Railers were able to score on. An error allowed another Newton run.

Maize South is 13-5, 8-2 in league play.

Newton ends the regular season 7-13, 3-9 in league play. Newton opens Class 5A regional play next week. Pairings are expected later this week.

“We have a prepare, a week to get ready,” George said. “I like where we’re at. Our pitching staff has been solid all year. Our defense is coming around. … We generated a little offense in the fifth there. That was encouraging. We need to keep doing that. These guys have all the potential in the world to accomplish all they want to accomplish. It’s just baby steps.” 



Epp, Kennedy (W) 4, Grant 6 and Bailey; Slechta (L), Valdez 5 and Boston.

AV-CTL I standings




Maize So.;8;2;13;5


Salina So.;4;8;5;13




Mark Schnabel can be reached at