May 30—KNOXVILLE — Injuries have hit Newton's softball team and the Cardinals were unable to overcome them against Knoxville on Friday night.
Newton fell behind in the third inning and never recovered during a non-conference road game.
Knoxville plated six runs in the third and went up 8-1 in the fifth before holding off the Cardinals 8-4.
"I was proud of the fight the girls had at the end of the game," Newton softball coach Kory Leiker said. "We came back and made them start warming up pitchers because we made them nervous at the end. If you can make a team uncomfortable with an 8-1 lead then you showed some grit and determination and continue to play."
Knoxville (2-2) led 6-1 after three innings. Newton made it 8-3 with two runs in the sixth and then plated one more in the seventh for the final margin.
The Cardinals (2-2) had six hits at the plate and committed four errors in the field. Knoxville tallied 10 hits and made two errors.
Chassidy Henwood finished with two hits and one run. She was forced to play catcher in the game because starter Peyton Durr was injured in practice the day before and backup catcher Chloe Swank was injured in the JV game at Ankeny Centennial.
Henwood is a natural outfielder and Mackayla Johnson also played catcher late in the game. Johnson had not played the position prior to Friday since her time in the Newton Girls Softball Association Youth League.
Newton also played through injuries to starters Grace Benson and Katelyn Lambert.
"We had to make a lot of changes," Leiker said. "We had girls out of position to say the least."
Lambert finished with one hit, one run and one RBI, Benson and Nevara Gray each tallied one hit and one RBI and Kadance Ahn cranked out one hit and scored one run.
Johnson, Hailey Sumpter and Vanessa Vasseau all walked once and Maggie Garrett scored a run as a courtesy runner.
Newton used three pitchers in the circle. Kallie Van Kley (2-1) started and took the loss after firing 2 1/3 innings. She allowed six runs — five earned — on five hits with one strikeout and one walk.
Gray tossed 2 2/3 innings and allowed two earned runs on four hits. Sumpter made her varsity pitching debut, throwing one inning of relief and allowing one hit with one strikeout.