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Newcastle Racers baseball team off to quick 3-0 start

The Newcastle baseball team is off to a great 3-0 start through Tuesday.

The Racers beat Destiny Christian, 8-0, last Thursday at home. Gage Ninness had three hits and three runs batted in while Jacob Bruns added two hits (including a first-inning triple) to the attack.

Adan “Peanut” Federico was the winning pitcher for Newcastle against Destiny Christian with three strikeouts and one hit allowed in his only inning of work. He was one of five Racer pitchers to enter the game.

The Racers also defeated Chickasha, 10-7, last Friday at home. The game was tied at five in the fifth inning when Jake Cox singled on a 1-0 count, scoring the go-ahead run.

Matt Miner earned the victory on the hill for Newcastle. Carsten Kates, Ryan Barker, and Jayson Lantis also put in some work for the Racers on the mound. Ninness had three more hits and Bruns also had three hits for Newcastle.

Last Saturday, Newcastle beat Class 3A No. 8 Mount Saint Mary’s, 8-7, on the road. The Racers took the lead late in the game. Tied in the top of the fifth, Bruns singled to score the go-ahead run.

Mount Saint Mary’s put a charge into their attack and came back from five runs down to tie the game. But, thanks to the slugger Ninness, Newcastle prevailed in the end. Ninness had two homers in the contest – a solo home run in the first inning and another three-run blast in the top of the fifth.

It’s certainly been an auspicious beginning to the new year for Newcastle.

“We’ve done a pretty good job so far but we have a long way to go,” Newcastle head coach Mike Crossley said. “Destiny Christian had beaten us in the past and had a lot of kids returning, but so did we. I saw a lot of good things but we have a ways to go yet.

“We’ve done really well pitching at times but at others, I’ve scratched my head wondering what the heck? For the most part, though, we’ve done a real good job of pitching and at the plate hitting the ball. We’ve got a couple of kids who are really tearing it up.”

One of those is certainly Ninness, who has hit safely in all three games thus far, going 9-for-12 (.750 average) with the two home runs at Mount Saint Mary’s.

“The fence at Saint Mary’s isn’t very far to right field,” Crossley said. “It’s a short porch to right but they don’t move the fence back for anybody else. Ninness just stayed back on the ball and drove it that way. He’s been swinging well all year so far and he’s done a good job for us. Federico has been swinging the bat well and Bruns has been hot. We’ve gotten lot of production from our lineup.”

Federico is certainly showing off his versatility. After playing mostly third base a year ago, he’s been shifted to catcher with great results.

“Federico threw out three guys against Chickasha,” Crossley said. “They tried to run on him a couple of times but he threw them out. Then, he blocked a ball in the dirt and their kid took off. He recovered and threw him out at second. That was a big plus for us on Friday.”

Despite not having much time on an actual playing field due to the weather, Newcastle has been

showing some great

glove work so far.

“On Saturday, we

turned three double plays,” Crossley said. “We

really should

have turned

five. Those are

a pitcher’s best

friend. At times,

we show spurts of being a really good ball club but we have a lot of other things we need to work on. We can’t fall in love with our record right now but the things we’re doing wrong are very correctable. We just have to continue to work hard.”

Newcastle was on the road for Tuesday’s game against Elgin, the defending Class 4A state champions. The Racers will entertain Elgin at 4:30 p.m. today (Thursday, March 14).

“Elgin is the defending state champs and they are really good,” Crossley said. “They run well and they play good defense. Their pitching can throw you off balance. They’re just a good ball club. We’re anxious to play them to see where we’re at right now. Our team has a high ceiling. We have room to get a lot better.”

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