Top-ranked Newman finished its wire-to-wire run at No. 1 with the school's fourth state championship, beating upset-minded Van Buren 6-2 in Saturday's Class 1A title game inside Principal Park.
"It's better than anything in the world," senior Casey Hall proclaimed.
You would not have found an argument from anyone associated with the Newman baseball program Saturday.
Pete Lapointe put a cap on his remarkable state tournament, driving in four runs, and Kaden Wadle, who found out he was going to pitch 30 minutes before warm-ups, threw six solid innings. Lapointe finished with eight RBIs in the three games inside Principal Park.
It wasn't until Newman coach Tony Adams picked up the game ball inside the clubhouse and tossed it to Wadle just before warm-ups that the sophomore knew he would be starting the state title game. Wadle opened the season by pitching Newman's first junior varsity game against Clear Lake and wore a number in the 60s.
Talk about a transformation.
"I wasn't too nervous," Wadle said. "More anxious."
The ball just seemed to bounce Wadle's way.
With Hall pitching in relief, the final out was a soft grounder to Wadle at second base. He tossed to senior first baseman Seth Hestness and the celebration ensued.
Spencer Schmidt, Newman's senior who was out of the lineup due to a knee injury, tossed his crutches to the side to take part.
Senior Kane Louscher said he tried to "swan dive" the pile.
"And John (Waters) was running around like a chicken with his head cut off," Wadle said.
This was everything the Newman baseball team could have asked for.
The Knights broke the game open with a four-run third inning. Kane Louscher, an inning after an outfield mishap allowed Van Buren to tie the game at one, drove in two before Lapointe's two-out single pushed the lead to 5-1.
Van Buren had an opportunity to turn a double play in the third that would have ended the inning before any runs were scored but a throwing error on third baseman Robby Laughlin allowed the inning to continue.
Newman made that error hurt.
"It's just an amazing feeling," Lapointe said. "I just tried to put the ball in play every at-bat."
Wadle moved to 8-0 and pitched an efficient six innings.
Van Buren connected for 10 hits but Wadle was able to wiggle out of jams throughout. None was bigger than in the sixth inning, when Van Buren had the bases loaded and one out. Wadle induced a grounder to Hall at second base and he turned a 4-3 double play to end the threat.
"I just had to go out and throw strikes," Wadle said. "I knew I had the defense behind me."
Lapointe finished his four-RBI day by driving in Burgmeier in the seventh to extend the lead to 6-1.
Van Buren scored once in the seventh before Hall closed the door and gave Newman its fourth state title and the third for Adams.
Newman won titles in 1998, 2002 and 2009.