Dateline: Fox Mill 2
On a beautiful spring evening, the Cardinals took the field. Coach Grossman looked excited as he embarked on only his second AAA season after nine seasons at the AA level. Conor took the mound and threw heat. He induced the leadoff batter to groundout back to the mound and struck out two. In the bottom of the first, Cardinals bats were alive. After leadoff walks to Conor and Keegan, Darron drilled a shot to center to score Conor. Ian followed with a smash to right to score Keegan. Robbie walked and Jack grounded into a fielders choice to score Darron. Aaron ended the inning with a hard single to right. Conor was dominating in the second with three strikeouts. Austin led off the bottom of the second with a walk. He moved to second and third on wild pitches and Conor came through with a key two out single to score Austin. At the end of two it was Cards 5 Reds 0.
Jack came on in the third and after two walks, got the third batter to ground out to Greg who made a great play at third as he fired the ball across the diamond for out one. After that Jack ran into some minor control problems — frequently battling hitters to full counts, but alas, the bases were loaded and three runs scored. Coach Grossman signaled to the bullpen and Robbie came in for his inaugural appearance of the season. Robbie quickly struck out two batters on eleven pitches. Cards bats were silent in the third so after three it was a suddenly exciting game at Cards 5 Reds 3.
Robbie continued on the mound in the fourth and was dominant. He induced a weak groundout to Keegan at second (who made a very nice play) and struck out two more Reds. Cards bats were quiet in the fourth and Cards fans started to look a little nervous. Ian came on in the fifth and threw extremely well. He got the first batter to loft a fly ball to left where TJ, the new callup from the Reds farm club in AA, camped under it and made a nice catch. The next two batters walked and another batter doubled to score a run. It was suddenly a one run game. Ian settled down and struck out the next two to end the Reds at bat. The Cards picked up some key insurance runs in their half of the fifth. Conor led off with a huge single to right. He moved to second on a wild pitch and Keegan moved him to third with a groundout back to the mound. Darron got a huge RBI with a double to center for his second hit on the day. Ian singled to move Darron to third and Robbie drilled a long double to left to score Darron and Ian. After five it was now Cards 8 Reds 4.
Ian shut down the Reds with three strikeouts to end the game and the Cardinals rejoiced with a win on opening day. Coach Goldstein in his post game press conference said “I am very pleased with how we started the season. Our catchers battled with some injuries but they did a great job.” Coach Grossman had very little time for this reporter as he was starting immediate preparations for Saturday’s game against the White Sox. He said, “Well, you couldn’t ask for a better start. I really liked how our guys stayed focused for the whole game and its fantastic when so many different players hit the ball well.”
A few tickets remain for Saturday’s contest. The White Sox are coming off of a big 18-8 victory so it has all the makings of a great ball game. Game time is 3:30 at Fox Mill 2.