WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — North Newton Spartan Baseball returned to the field this spring after more than a year’s absence. Coaching the 2021 team is Mike Atwood, who is also the school’s current Athletic Director. Joining the coaching staff is Coach Doug Belt, Eric Jones, and Bud Spillers.
On May 27th, 2019 the Spartan team secured a sectional title along with a very experienced team. 2020 was a very unique year in which the IHSAA canceled many sports tournaments. This included the entire spring season, and the North Newton Spartans were unable to defend their hard-won title in the previous year. Returning for the 2021 season the Spartans will be fielding a very young team that included five returning seniors.
The Spartans traveled to West Lafayette on April 3rd to battle a doubleheader against the Harrison Raiders. The first pitch of the doubleheader was thrown just after 10 am, leading off for North Newton was senior Austin Goddard. Harrison walked Goddard to first base and he advanced to second on a sacrificed bunt. Between pitches to junior Michael Levy, Goddard was able to steal third base but was unable to score before the third out of the inning.
In the bottom of the first, Harrisons Will Shallenberger took the pitch thrown by Goddard, only to back towards Goddard’s feet taking him to the ground. Shaking off the near-miss Goddard scooped up the ball to stop more runs from scoring. Throughout the first game against a very seasoned Harrison team, the youth of the Spartans could be seen. The Spartans dug deep to continue playing and shaking off missed catches and communication issues on the field. Game one of the doubleheader ended with a 33-0 Harrison win
After a short break giving each team time to get some food for game fuel and time to talk strategy with coaches the second game began. Out on the field, the team took the advice to play the game while learning from the earlier mistakes could easily be seen. Harrison soon found out how quickly the Spartans could play monkey in the middle. First baseman Cade Ehlinger, waited patiently while Harrison’s Morgan was run back towards first base as Goddard chased down and tagged Morgan out on his slide into first base. The Spartans scored their first run in the fourth inning by Kaydn Rowland, who slid into home plate with the Harrison catcher dropping the ball. North Newton would score all their runs for the second game in the 4th. The final score of the doubleheader was Harrison 133, North Newton 3.
North Newton would travel to Morgan Township on April 5th. The Spartans would score runs in the 1st, 2nd, and 7th innings earning a total of 6 runs. Morgan Township would score in the 1st and 2nd earning enough runs to defeat the Spartans 10-6
With the losses, the North Newton Spartans are currently 0-3.