Dateline: Fox Mill 1
The Cards continued their road trip as they played the White Sox. Tickets were selling briskly at gametime as the weather was sunny on a beautiful Spring morning. In addition to the weather, the White Sox previously tied the Cards and this was the second and final match between the two teams.
The Cards jumped on the Sox starter and to this reporter, it looked we were set for a high scoring game. Conor and Austin walked and Daron picked up a huge RBI single to score Conor. Ian then beat out an infield single to move Austin to third. Robbie grounded out to short, but Austin scored for the Cards second run. After that the Cards went down quietly.
The Sox battled Conor, but as usual, Conor was throwing heat. The leadoff man walked, barely stole second and moved to third on a wild pitch. Ian fired down to third on the wild pitch and the ball dribbled into the outfield and the leadoff man scored. Conor settled down and so the game moved to the fifth. Cards bats went down 1-2-3 on some quick strikeouts and struck out the next three batters. After one it was Cards 2 White Sox 1. This reporter guesses that it is unlikely that most fans expected that score to the be final score on the day.
In the second, Aaron drilled a hot smash to the White Sox second baseman for out one. TJ hit a sharp hopper back to the mound for out two. Conor beat out an infield hit, but after that the Cards bats were quiet. Conor swiftly dispatched the White Sox batters in the bottom of the second on two pop outs back to the mound and a nice play by Austin in the infield.
In the third, the Cards were still hitting the ball. Daron drilled a shot to right center that the center fielder made a fantastic catch to rob Daron of at least a double. Ian drilled a long double to right and moved to third on an infield hit by Robbie. Ian attempted to steal home but the White Sox recovered in time and Ian had to retreat to third. After that Cards bats were quiet. Conor came on in the third inning and was still throwing hard. After an infield hit, Jack made a nice play on a hard hit to short where he flipped to TJ for out one. The runner stole second and third, but Conor settled down to strike out the next batter for out two. Then TJ made a great play on a ball to his right and he fired to Aaron at first for out three.
In the fourth, the Cards looked like they were set to score a bunch of runs. A leadoff shot to the shortstop that was just too hard to handle was hit by Keegan. Aaron beat out an infield single and TJ walked to load the bases. The White Sox were forced to bring in their closer: Justin. Justin had a rough outing against the Cards the last time the two teams played, but he was throwing hard strikes today. He struck out the next three batters to end the inning. With two outs, Coach Grossman gave Conor the green light to steal home, but he also was caught in a rundown and happily he made it back to third. Robbie came on in the bottom of the fourth and had his best outing of the year. He was throwing hard strikes. He struck out the first batter, and then gave up a solid single. The next batter hit a bouncer back to the mound. Robbie wheeled and threw to Ian at second for out two who fired to Aaron at first and the batter beat the throw by a step. It was a great defensive play. With two outs Robbie struck out the next batter.
And so the game moved to the fifth. Cards bats went down 1-2-3 on some quick strikeouts. The White Sox were excited. Cards fans were quietly confident and cheered on the team. Robbie struck out the first two batters for outs one and two. The next batter beat out a weak infield hit and stole second. The Sox leadoff hitter then singled to center, but the Cards made a great play and got the ball back to the infield before the runner could even try to score. With runners and first and third and two outs Coach Grossman walked slowly to the mound and gave the ball to Ian. The runner on first stole second and now the go-ahead run was on second base. Ian stared in at the catcher and threw blistering heat to strike out the batter on three pitches. Cards fans rejoiced.
Suddenly, the game was in the sixth inning. Sadly, the Cards again went down 1-2-3 on strikeouts. The White Sox now were down to their last three outs. Ian quickly struck out the first two. Two walks made life a little interesting and put the tying run on second and the winning run on first. Coach Grossman went to the mound. When play resumed, Ian stared in at his catcher Robbie and blasted three straight strikes by the batter to end the game. Final Score: Cards 2 White Sox 1.
Coach Goldstein said “What a game. You don’t see too many pitchers duel’s like this. I saw our catcher’s progressing again and you certainly can’t complain about a defense that only gave up one run.”
Coach Grossman refused a long interview as he had to begin preparations for a key game against the Reds on Tuesday. He said, “That was one of the best played Little League games I’ve ever seen. The White Sox are obviously one of the best teams and the league and to pick up a win against them is really fantastic. I’d like to point out that we did get seven hits to their five and we had a bunch of hard hit balls in play so I think our offense is going to be fine. I’m sure we can build on this win and play well next week. “
The Cards continue their road trip against the Reds on Tuesday and then play the second place Astros on Thursday. Tickets are already selling quickly for both rematches.