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Newman Catholic senior Merritt McCardle reaches to make a tag on North Iowa freshman Cadin Fleener at second base Wednesday in Mason City.

The Newman Catholic baseball team came into the 2019 season as the No. 1 ranked team in 1A, and the Knights showed the reason why on Wednesday night, beating North Iowa 10-0 in the season-opener.

The game was a fast one, as the mercy rule went into effect after the Bison’s at-bat in the top of the fifth inning. Eighth grader Doug Taylor got the start on the mound for the Knights, and performed well, pitching four innings, and striking out eight hitters.

On offense, the Knights dominated North Iowa. Center fielder Josh Fitzgerald led off the game with a double. Evan Paulus and Merritt McCardle then reached base on a walk and a hit by pitch. Two runs then scored on a single from senior Jack McGuire.

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Two more runs came across in the inning, along with three more in the second, and three more in the third. McGuire led the way with three hits, while Fitzgerald scored three of the Knights’ 10 runs. Fitzgerald hit a two-run home run in the bottom of the third inning, Newman Catholic’s first home run of the year.

For Knights’ manager Alex Bohl, the beginning of a new season is an exciting time of year. Coming off of two straight state titles, expectations are high. But with six new starters, including an eighth grade catcher, change is afoot for the Knights. But regardless, Bohl is thrilled to have his team back on the diamond, ready to defend a title and to battle for its fourth title in five years.

“It’s exciting,” Bohl said. “It’s hard to believe that it’s here. It’s a start to a new season. You’ve got new faces, a lot of new starters. If you look at our varsity roster, there are a lot of new guys on the roster, a lot of young guys. We’re excited to see what we’ve got the rest of the week, and for the rest of the season.”

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