Jun. 24—Newton's baseball team lost 7-0 to Class 4A No. 8 Norwalk on Wednesday night. But head coach Brad Kahler felt good about the Cardinals' performance.
"You don't want to lose, but that's a good team over there," Kahler said. "I told the kids I was pretty happy with the way the game went for the most part."
The Cardinals had just four hits in the loss but only a few plays here or there made the score worse than it was.
The Little Hawkeye Conference game against Norwalk came down to execution in a lot of ways.
The Warriors plated four runs in the third off just one hit. Newton starting pitcher Riley Mouchka walked the first two batters in the inning and then an error loaded the bases.
Norwalk's next batter, Evan Borst, cleared the bases with a three-run double. The fourth run scored off a sacrifice fly to right field.
Mouchka was chased in the sixth after getting the first two batters out on ground balls. Norwalk plated two runs on three straight two-out hits before Kacey Sommars got out of the jam with a strikeout.
On the flip side, Newton failed to execute when it had runners on base.
"In the second inning, Eli Stewart got on and we couldn't get the bunt down to move him over," Kahler said. "Then in the third, Mouchka leads off with a double and we had three outs that were not productive and didn't score.
"We are trying to learn how to do that stuff. We are getting better, but I tell the kids I see the world in black and white. You're either going to do it or you're not. You either move the runner over with two strikes or you strikeout or pop out."
Newton's opportunities were limited by starting pitcher Keefer Saddoris. Braydon Chance singled in the first with two outs but was stranded.
Eli Stewart reached base on a catcher's interference in the second but the inning ended in a 3-6-4 double play.
In the third, Mouchka led off with a double and moved over to third on a single by Sommars. but both runners were stranded after a fly out to left field.
The Cardinals (4-14 overall, 2-13 in conference play) went down in order in the fourth and fifth.
In the sixth, Newton chased Saddoris after Sommars fouled off a bunch of two-strike pitches before drawing a walk.
Chance then singled off Norwalk ace Vinnie Mauro, but the Cardinals again left them stranded on the bases.
Mauro got Newton in order in the seventh and ended the game with back-to-back strikeouts.
Cardinal hitters lowered their strikeouts against the Warriors (21-1, 14-1). They are improving in some aspects at the plate. But just ran into a very good team at Eversman Field.
"We lost to this team 9-5, 5-0 and 7-0. So we've played some of our best ball against them as far as pitching and defense go," Kahler said. "They are really solid. They don't have amazing hitters or anything. They are just rock solid. Rock solid defensively. Rock solid pitching. That's a good team to be like. That's why they are ranked No. 8 in 4A and have only lost once."
Chance led the Cardinals with two of the team's four hits. Sommars tallied one hit and one walk and the fourth hit was the Mouchka double in the third.
Chance came into the game batting .419.
"He needs to share the secret with everyone," Kahler said. "What I like about what he's doing is, with less than two strikes, he's trying to do something up there. I think it's a confidence thing. When you see it well, you see it well."
Mouchka took the loss for Newton as he started on the mound and allowed six runs — five earned — on five hits with four walks and one strikeout in 5 2/3 innings.
Sommars got the final four outs, allowed one earned run and struck out three.