Jun. 27—Newton and Pella Christian played three softball games against each other this summer and every one of the matchups was decided by one run.
Unfortunately for the Cardinals, two of those games ended in Eagle wins. And during the Little Hawkeye Conference home doubleheader on Friday, Newton let one get away during a 5-4 loss in game one.
The Cardinals bounced back to take the nightcap, 4-3, but Pella Christian made that one interesting, too, with three runs in the seventh inning.
"I felt like we outplayed them in both games," Newton softball coach Kory Leiker said. "The bounces just didn't go our way in the first game, but we came back to get a win in the second one."
The conference split keeps the Cardinals at .500 on the season at 14-14. They are 5-12 in LHC play. Pella Christian (11-15) is 4-13 in conference games.
The doubleheader went much differently than the single game in Pella, which the Eagles won 11-10.
This time around, Newton controlled the first five innings of both games. Pella Christian scored eight runs on the night and seven of them came in the final two innings of each game.
Kallie VanKley started in the circle in the opener and stranded one Eagle on base in the first.
The Cardinals took an early lead in the bottom half of the frame. Katelyn Lambert singled and Chassidy Henwood walked. Both players swiped a bag to move up a base and Lambert scored on Jazlynn Cooper's RBI sacrifice fly to center field.
The Eagles answered in the second to tie it but did so without a hit. They plated one run on a walk, sacrifice bunt and two wild pitches.
Newton came right back in the bottom of the second and regained the lead. VanKley singled to open the frame and her courtesy runner, Madison Henwood, moved to second on a sac bunt by Kadance Ahn.
Madison Henwood advanced to third and scored on two passed balls.
Neither team scored again until the fifth, but Newton left the bases loaded in the third.
VanKley got the Eagles in order in the third and fourth but back-to-back two-out errors in the fifth gave Pella Christian a little life. VanKley ended the threat by getting a pop out to Kya Butler at shortstop.
In the fifth, Chassidy Henwood hit a one-out single and stole second. Butler singled to put runners on the corners with one out. Cooper's second RBI of the game was a ground out to third and Newton went up 3-1.
The Eagles broke through for three runs in the sixth and took a 4-3 lead. After two outs were recorded, they cranked out five consecutive singles but VanKley got out of the jam with a strikeout.
The Cardinals went down in order in the sixth but Ahn hit a ball that was caught just in front of the fence in center field.
The Eagles added an important insurance run in the seventh. A double by Bailey Roose started the inning and she took third on a dropped third strike.
Pella Christian chased VanKley with back-to-back singles, the first being an RBI single by Anna Bonnett.
Cooper came into the circle with one out in the seventh and walked one between two outs that were caught in the air.
Newton made things interesting in the seventh. The Cardinals also rallied with two outs.
Chassidy Henwood singled and went to second on a wild pitch. Butler drew a walk and Cooper's RBI single made it 5-4. Both Butler and Cooper moved up a base on an error but Chloe Swank flied out to deep center field to end the game.
Newton stranded seven runners on base in the loss.
"We hit the ball well in the first game but were unlucky by hitting it right at people," Leiker said. "Hitting the ball hard always gives you a chance of the other team making that one mistake."
Chassidy Henwood led the Cardinals with two hits in the opener and she scored two runs, walked once, was hit by a pitch and stole three bases.
Cooper had one hit, one walk, three RBIs and one steal, Lambert tallied one hit, one run and one steal and Butler walked once and had one hit.
VanKley also had one hit, Swank drew a walk and Madison Henwood scored one run.
VanKley (6-8) took the pitching loss after allowing five earned runs on eight hits with five strikeouts, three walks and one hit batter in 6 1/3 innings.
All eight of the Eagles' hits came in their final two at-bats.
In the nightcap, Newton scored two in the first and one in the second to take another early lead.
This time, the Cardinals held on despite allowing three runs in the top of the seventh. Newton led 4-0 through six after scoring another run in the sixth.
The Cardinals had six hits in both games and committed five total errors.
Butler tripled and Chassidy Henwood, Madison Henwood, Cooper, Swank and Taylor Lust all had one hit in the second game.
Butler finished with one run and one RBI, Cooper had another RBI and drew one walk and Madison Henwood finished with a pair of RBIs.
Chassidy Henwood, Lust and Mackayla Johnson all scored one run.
Hailey Sumpter (4-1) pitched all seven innings and got the game two win. She allowed three earned runs on five hits with two strikeouts and one walk.
Newton 6, Nevada 2
Four players had at least two hits, two pitchers combined to allow just one earned run and Newton used a big fifth inning to claim a 6-2 home win over Nevada on Thursday.
Nevada scored first and tied the game at 2-all in the fourth, but the Cardinals plated four runs in the bottom of the fifth to pull away for good on Cancer Night.
"It was a good team win tonight," Leiker said. "The girls also had extra incentive as we honored those close to us who are fighting cancer or have fought cancer. They are the true heroes."
The Cubs (9-14) scored one in the first inning. Newton led 2-1 after single runs in the second and third before putting up the only crooked number of the game in the fifth.
Swank had three hits and one RBI and Butler, Cooper and Vanessa Vasseau each had two hits to lead the offense.
Vasseau scored twice, was hit by one pitch and stole one base, Cooper doubled, scored two runs and had one RBI and Butler doubled, scored once and had one RBI.
Lambert tallied one hit and one RBI, Ahn finished with one RBI and one walk, VanKley walked once and Madison Henwood scored one run.
VanKley started in the circle but did not factor into the decision after allowing two runs — one earned — on five hits with one strikeout and one walk in four innings.
Sumpter pitched the final three innings in relief and got the win after surrendering no runs on two hits with one strikeout.
"I'm proud that the team was able to get this win for their loved ones," Leiker said. "That's what truly matters. We just hope that they were able to come to the game and enjoy the moment and forget about things for a few minutes and be able to laugh and smile with the rest of us."