Mason City Newman coach Tony Adams walked into the clubhouse at Principal Park, grabbed the game ball, and tossed it into the hands of Kaden Wadle.
Six strong innings later, Wadle finally gave it back.
Wadle led top-ranked Newman to the Class 1-A state baseball title 6-2 against Van Buren of Keosauqua on Saturday.
“Holy cow,” Wadle said. “This has got to be one of the greatest feelings in the world. We just won a state championship and I got lucky enough to pitch in it.”
Wadle scattered 10 hits, struck out three and allowed just two runs in a dominant outing — one he found out about less than an hour before the game.
Adams decided on Wadle as his starter following Thursday’s semifinal win, but kept the news under wraps so his sophomore hurler could relax before Saturday’s showdown.
“We didn’t want him to think about it,” Adams said. “We just wanted him to have a good night’s sleep and not even worry about it.”
It worked for Wadle, who stayed calm and collected throughout the day before departing in the seventh inning to a loud ovation.
Wadle (8-0) started the season on Newman’s junior-varsity squad. By the end of the season, he was pitching in his team’s biggest game.
“I was hoping I was going to get some chances to pitch some conference games,” Wadle said.
“I never thought I’d pitch in the state championship game at all this year.”
Newman broke a 1-1 tie with a four-run third inning behind a pair of two-run singles by Kane Louscher and Peter Lapointe.
The Knights never looked back on the way to their fourth summer state title and first since 2009.
The championship celebration came a year after Martensdale-St. Marys marched to its third straight title with a 1-0 victory over the Knights in the finals.
“That was a heartbreaker,” said Lapointe.
The Knights made sure it didn’t happen again.
Lapointe finished 2-for-3 with four RBIs. Third baseman Joe Burgmeier added two hits and two runs for Newman (29-6).
Van Buren tallied 11 hits but was able to push only one run across in both the second and seventh innings.
Three errors also proved costly.
“They played clean — they didn’t make errors and they threw strikes,” Van Buren shortstop Garrett Saunders said. “We just didn’t string our hits together.”
Van Buren, making its first trip to state, finished the season with a 26-6 record and a lot of new expectations.
“We’re a very young team — we start four freshmen and three sophomores,” Van Buren coach Chad Scott said. “I’m tickled to death for these kids.”
Newman….014 000 1–6 9 0
Van Buren………010 000 1–2 11 3
W–Wadle. L– Barker.
==== CLASS 1-A TOURNAMENT SCORES ====
Mason City Newman 11, Woodbury Central 6
Twin Cedars (Bussey) 4, Martensdale-St. Marys 1 (9 innings)
Van Meter 6, Remsen St. Mary 4
Van Buren (Keosauqua) 6, Don Bosco (Gilbertville) 5 (8 innings)
Mason City Newman 3, Twin Cedars (Bussey 0
Van Buren (Keosauqua) 14, Van Meter 4 (6 innings)
Mason City Newman 6, Van Buren (Keosauqua) 2