DES MOINES, Iowa – “You know, we kind of expect to have the rest of the state against us,” said head coach, Alex Bohl.
When you are one of the best teams in the state, everyone is out after you. For the Newman Knights, that didn’t matter game after game this season, especially in the Class 1A state championship. The win marks the program’s third-straight state title and fourth in five years.
Senior center fielder, Josh Fitzgerald, calls it a testimony to the hours of hard work dedicated to this program.
“It’s a relief for our hard work to pay off all season long. It’s good to go out on top as a senior. Me and my friends are just so happy that we won and get to end on this, it’s awesome.”
The Knights conquered Alburnett 11-1 in six innings leaving Coach Bohl without words.
“Speechless,” he said moments after the game. “Obviously very excited. You know, this group has really bonded together and we started the year with five or six new guys in the lineup. We relied on a couple of eighth-graders today to carry us through – our seniors stepped up when they had to. Very deserving.”
One of the eighth-graders he was referring to is Doug Taylor, who started on the mound and through 5.1 innings, only gave up four hits and one run.
He says he was just sticking to the game plan.
“We just trusted the process and ended up where we wanted to be,” Taylor said. “We’ve gotten a whole lot better and all of us have developed so much throughout the year – it’s amazing.”
While this is one of the days that the Knights will remember for the rest of their lives, Fitzgerald says it is important to remember just how lucky they are.
“Every single kid here is lucky to play. There’s kids out there that don’t get the opportunity to play baseball. There are kids that are sick in the hospital. Everybody should just be so thankful for what they’re able to do – especially being on this kind of stage – fourth in five years – it’s just unbelievable. We’re so lucky and thankful.”
After the game was over fans were invited back to the school. That is where the team was escorted back to courtesy of the Mason City Police Department and was reunited with friends, family, and ice cream.
Mike Schutt is the father of the first baseman, Jacob Schutt, and says it was a great way to honor the team.
“It’s a great way. It’s the third year we’ve got to do it here,” he said. “Our parents and fans do a great job, we get to have ice cream, they welcome the kids – they make them feel appreciated. Because they are appreciated because they work hard and we don’t get to see them much in the summer sometimes.”
Newman finishes the season with a record of 38-3.