WHITING — North Newton couldn’t overcome the early nerves, falling behind big to Whiting and the Spartans couldn’t recover in a 12-2 loss in five innings in the 2A Regional semifinal Saturday.
“Nerves were definitely an issue early,” said North Newton head coach Derek Merriman. “The guys have held nerves pretty well this season in the crucial games and can usually get them under control by the second inning, but today was a different story.”
Whiting took advantage of three walks in the opening inning off North Newton starter Robby James and scored two runs on two hits for a quick 2-0 lead.
Three consecutive singles to start the second inning, knocked James off the mound and fellow senior Kyle Beedle into the game. However, he would issue a bases-loaded walk, be called for a balk and throw two wild pitches as four runs came around to score for the Oilers for a 6-0 lead.
The Spartans would get one of those runs back in the bottom of the second. Garet Belt got the inning started with a one-out double followed by a single from Beedle. Courtesy runner Logan Drinski would steal second base and the throw would get away from the Whiting defense, allowing Belt to score from third.
Whiting would answer with four runs in the top of the third off three hits and two walks for a commanding 10-1 lead.
Three North Newton errors would lead to two more runs for Whiting in the fourth.
An RBI double by Beedle in the bottom of the fourth put up the final run for the Spartans.
Neither team reached base in the fifth as the Oilers closed out the win in just five innings, 12-2.
Kyler Rainford closed out the game for the Spartans allowing one run (none earned) on a hit and two strikeouts over two innings of work.
“I let the guys know how proud I am of them for getting this far this season,” said Merriman. “They have shown great heart all season long. There is no reason for them to hang their heads.”
The Spartans were in the regional round for baseball for the first time since 1997.