Despite trailing 4-1 going into the top of the sixth inning, the East Newton Patriots stormed back for a 10-5 victory over Neosho in the regular season finale for both teams in a varsity baseball tilt on Senior Night at Roy B. Shaver Stadium on Thursday.

Despite trailing 4-1 going into the top of the sixth inning, the East Newton Patriots stormed back for a 10-5 victory over Neosho in the regular season finale for both teams in a varsity baseball tilt on Senior Night at Roy B. Shaver Stadium on Thursday.

Just when it seemed like the Wildcats had things in hand, the Patriots got hot offensively and sent 11 batters to the plate in the sixth, rallying for six runs. Like that, they had a 7-4 advantage. Pate Powell, Brandon Jordan, Zack Graham and Austin Lacy all drove in a run in the inning.

Neosho loaded the bases in the sixth, but East Newton reliever Sam Swartz escaped the jam unscathed. Swartz would then deliver the knockout blow offensively in the seventh when he helped his own cause by belting a two-out, bases loaded triple off the wall in center to drive in three runs and make it 10-4. The Wildcats scraped together a run in the seventh when Trey Turner walked, stole second and scored on two errors to make it 10-5, but that’s all they would get against Swartz.

“They played really hard,” Patriots coach Shawn Trent said. “Everyone was excited and having fun. We put the ball in play and made plays when we needed to make plays and got hits when we needed hits.”

In their final dress rehearsal before districts begin on Saturday, both teams made sure to get a number of players action. Neosho used six pitchers in the game, and instituted a host of offensive changes to rest regulars throughout the game. The Patriots did much of the same on the mound, using four different pitchers.

“I told (the team) right before districts nobody is going to throw their number one (starter) and that they’ll probably throw a lot of different guys,” Trent said. “Both teams kind of had to make adjustments tonight.”

Rocky Liveoak started on the mound for the Patriots and went four innings. Jacob Patterson, Powell and Swartz also saw action, with Swartz working the final 2 2/3 innings to earn the victory. Swartz was the third Patriots pitcher summoned to the mound in the fifth inning alone. His performance was paramount to the win.

“We kind of got in a funk there where we couldn’t throw strikes,” Trent said. “I said, ‘Sam, are you ready to go?’ He said yeah and I put him in. He was able to throw strikes, get us outs and keep his pitch count low — which was the big thing, because he’s one of those guys we’ve got to have in districts.”

Austin Lacy led the Patriots with three hits in the game, while Powell had two hits, an RBI and scored two runs. Swartz had two hits and three RBIs, while Zack Graham doubled and scored a run and Chance Liveoak singled and scored twice.

The Wildcats managed only three hits in the game, with Turner collecting two — including a double. Kody Kelly also had a hit. For those who believe that a walk is as good as a hit, the Wildcats drew 10 free passes in the game.

They scored three runs with one out in the fifth when the Patriots walked five batters in a row, allowing them to score their runs on a wild pitch, a walk and a fielder’s choice.

“Bottom line is they threw their one and two (pitchers) at us and we threw our five, six, seven, eight and nine,” Wildcats coach Donny Pennington said. “We didn’t hit well and I was a little concerned about that, having been off the past week and a half with no live pitching. It is what it is. I’m not worried about it. Good teams have bad days and we had a bad day.”

The Wildcats (15-7) begin their quest for a district title against Willard at 2 p.m. Saturday in the Class 5, District 12 Tournament at Webb City.

This win was a big one for the Patriots, as it helped them add to their school record in wins for a season. They’re now 14-7 overall and get set to take on Cassville at 1:30 p.m. Saturday in the Class 4, District 11 Tournament at Monett.