Jun. 5—Kadance Ahn doubled and scored two runs at the plate against Pella on Friday night.
But it was an over-the-shoulder catch with the bases loaded in the sixth inning that saved the game for Newton's softball team in the Little Hawkeye Conference matchup.
The Cardinals and Pella were knotted at 7-all at the time of Ahn's inning-ending catch and Newton pulled away for good with a five-run bottom half of the inning as the home team went on to win 12-8.
"It was a great win last night," Newton coach Kory Leiker said. "It was a see-saw battle through five. Kadance's catch was the turning point of the game."
Newton led 3-0 after one inning, but Pella scored four in the top of the second to grab a lead. Nevara Gray blasted a two-run homer in the bottom of the inning to put the Cardinals (6-3 overall, 2-1 in conference play) back in front.
The Lady Dutch (1-7, 0-3) led 6-5 after scoring single runs in the third and fourth innings, but Newton went back in front with a two-run bottom of the fourth.
Pella scored once in the sixth and once in the seventh but Newton's five-run sixth inning was enough to secure the conference victory.
"I was very proud of the fight in these girls," Leiker said. "We continue to get better every day. And we need to ride this momentum into our next game."
The Cardinals committed four errors in the field but won the game because they tallied nine hits and drew seven walks. Seven players tallied at least one hit.
Gray and Kya Butler both hit home runs, Jazlynn Cooper had two hits and scored three runs and Maggie Garrett tallied a pair of hits and collected two RBIs.
Gray's homer was her only hit of the night, but she was hit by a pitch and finished with four RBIs. She has two homers and 10 RBIs in her first seven games as a varsity player.
Butler scored three runs, walked twice and stole a base, Cooper had one RBI and walked once and Ahn doubled and scored two runs.
Kallie VanKley and Chloe Swank each had one hit, one RBI and one walk, Madison Henwood scored two runs, Mackayla Johnson walked once and had an RBI, Chassidy Henwood drew a walk and Paige Benson scored a run.
"We were patient at the plate and that let us score multiple runs on walks," Leiker said.
VanKley started in the circle and allowed five runs — two earned — on three hits with three strikeouts, three walks and one hit batter in three innings.
Gray entered the circle in the fourth and finished the game, allowing three runs — two earned — on six hits with one strikeout and four walks in four innings. She earned the win.
It was the seventh straight loss for Pella. Bailey Brown led the Lady Dutch with two hits, two runs and two walks. Kylie Tauke added two hits, two runs an two RBIs and Ava Curry doubled twice and drove in two.
Cardinals split home doubleheader with Oskaloosa
Two blowout games resulted in an LHC split for Newton on Wednesday night.
The Cardinals lost the opener, 10-2, to Oskaloosa before routing the Indians 11-1 in six innings in the nightcap.
Newton scored eight runs in the bottom of the fifth inning to pull away for good in the second game. Oskaloosa used a four-run third to gain a lead in the opener and then plated two runs in each of the final three innings to complete the win.
"We played flat in the first game, giving them way too many opportunities to score and made too many mistakes," Leiker said. "After the first game, we had a brief discussion on our focus and how we wanted to respond to the first game. I was proud of the response. The girls dug deep and made some great plays. If we show up every night ready to play, there isn't a team we can't compete with."
Gray homered and finished with two hits, two RBIs and one walk in the game two win. Butler also had two hits, two runs, one RBI and one walk and Katelyn Lambert tallied one hit, two runs, one RBI and one walk.
Butler has scored seven runs in the first seven games of the season.
Ahn drew two walks, scored one run and had one RBI, Cooper finished with one hit, one run and two RBIs and Johnson added one hit, one run and one RBI.
Swank had two walks, Garrett walked once and Vanessa Vasseau, Benson and Madison Henwood all scored one run.
VanKley (3-1) had one hit and one RBI at the plate and earned the win in the circle. She pitched all six innings and allowed no earned runs on four hits with two strikeouts and one walk.
"We are getting better every time we step on the field," Leiker said. "This isn't an overnight process. We will get to where we want to go by learning from our mistakes."
In the opener, Newton scored just two runs despite having eight hits. The Cardinals also committed six errors.
Butler homered and had two hits, Garrett doubled and tallied two hits, Lambert tallied one hit and one walk and Johnson walked once and scored a run.
Cooper and Swank had one hit apiece and Grace Benson, Ahn and Vasseau all walked once.
"We left too many runners on base in the first game," Leiker said. "When you make mistakes and give them runs and your not taking advantage of your opportunities then you have the outcome we got."
Gray (1-2) had one hit and one RBI at the plate and took the loss in the circle. She allowed six earned runs on 13 hits with two strikeouts and no walks.
Hailey Sumpter pitched one inning in relief and struck out two while allowing two hits.
Olivia Gordon had three hits in each game for Oskaloosa (4-4, 2-1) and also tallied four RBIs in the opener.