In a very pleasant Sat morning the Cardinals played an early season matchup against the Dodgers. The Dodgers, coached by two senior coaches are always a pleasant matchup for the Cardinals staff. Coach Grossman said in a brief pre-game interview said, “Any time you face a team with coaches like Boyce and O’Conner you are going to have to bring your A-Game. I think we’ll be ready.”
In the top of the first the Cards bats looked good as DJ socked an infield single to short and Isaac followed up with a single. Two on and no outs, but the Dodgers defense got tough. Ishaan hit a sharp grounder to third which was played nicely and resulted in a force at third for out one. Matt and Merritt also grounded out so the Dodgers recorded all three outs in the top of the first. In the bottom of the first, the Cards misplayed a number of routine grounders and got no outs.
In the top of the second, the Cards bats were back in action. Merrit singled, Michael singled and Mitchell singled. Nick grounded back to the mound where the pitcher made a nice play and got Merrit at home by a step. Amanda singled to score Michael. Willing singled to second to score Mitchell. DJ beat out an infield hit to third to score Amanda. Isaac singled off the machine. Ishaan hit a towering drive to left to score William. Bottom of the second, the Cards defensive woes continued with only one bright spot, a Nick got one out on a ground ball back to the mound where he fired to Matt at home for an out. Finally the Cards defense was getting back on track. It was a sign of more good things to come.
Top of the third and the Cards bats kept coming. Logan led off with a single. Matt hit a hard shot to second but the Dodgers got Logan at second for an out. Merrit, Michael and Mitchell singled to score Matt and load the bases. Nick grounded into a fielders choice. Amanda singled to score Michael, William singled to score Mitchell and DJ singled to score Nick. In the bottom of the third, the Cards defense came alive. A hard shot to right bouned once, Michael fielded it on one hop and fired to Matt for a rare 9-3 out at first. DJ then made two nice plays on ground balls at the mound as the turned and threw to Matt at first for two more outs.
In the fourth, the Cards poured on more offense. Isaac led off with a tough chopper to the mound but was out at first by a step. Ishaan hit another hard single to center. Logan singled, Matt singled and the bases were loaded. Merrit grounded to third for a fielders choice that just got Logan at third for and out. Michael was safe on an infield hit to score Ishaan. Mitchell singled to score Matt. Nick singled to score Merrit and Amanda singled to score Michael.
Bottom of the fourth and the Cardinals looked ready on defense. With a runner on first the batter hit a popup to the mound. Michael caught it and wheeled and fired (Editors Note: It did take him a second or two to make the throw but for heavens sakes, this is single-A) Isaac made the catch and in a bang-bang play at first the Dodgers coaches were consulted and they determined the runner was safe by a step. With one out, the next batter popped up to Michael for out two. Later in the inning, the Dodgers hit, hit a tough grounder to the mound. Michael got it and set his feet, threw over to first where Isaac made the catch to end the game.
Coach Grossman was only briefly available for a post-game interview due to his pressing schedule which involved coaching the feared T-ball Rattlers against a very tough Ironbirds team later in the same day. He said, “Well I was glad to get those last six outs and we darned near got a double play, but we have plenty of work to do on ground balls. Its still early in the season so we have plenty of time to work on this. It just takes time and practice. Obviously, we’ll address that this week. When asked by this reporter if he had anything postive to say, Coach Grossman thought for several minutes (Editors Note: That was a joke) and said, “Absolutely. I thought we had two great practices this week and I want to thank all the parents for their help. I thought our bats looked a little better this week and this really is a great group of kids to work with. They are all doing their very best and eager to learn and thats all any coach can ask of a team. “