Dateline: Stratton Woods
The Cards returned home for a pretty warm spring evening for their first match against the Royals. Conor walked the first batter but got the next hitter to hit a sharp grounder to Robbie at first for out one. The runner moved to second and third on wild pitches. Conor struck out the next batter and the cleanup man lofted a fly to shallow center that just dropped in for a weak single to score the run. The next batter hit a shot to Robbie’s right where he smoothly backhanded the ball and touched first to end the inning. The Royals were off to a 1-0 lead. It was to be one of the only bright moments for the Royals on the day. The Cards started their offensive barrage with walks to Conor and Austin. Ian singled to score Conor. Robbie singled to score Austin. Jack hit a long double to right to score Ian and Robbie. Very quickly it was 4-1 Cards.
In the second, Conor gave up a single but the next batter grounded into a fielders choice at second for out one. A couple of walks loaded the bases but Conor settled down for a strikeout for out two and he induced a weak groundout where Austin made a nice play as he fielded it and threw to Robbie at first to end the Royals at bat. In the bottom half of the inning, Peter walked, Greg walked and Conor singled to load the bases. Austin walked to score Peter. Daron smashed a key RBI single to score Greg. Ian hit a shot to short that was handled nicely for a fielders choice, but it was good for an RBI as Conor scored. Robbie then drilled a single to score Austin. Four runs in and only one out. After two it was Cards 8 Royals 1 as Cards fans rejoiced.
Jack came on in the third and threw hard. After a leadoff single, the Royals next batter walked and the next batter beat out a weak infield hit to load the bases. Unfortunately, Jack ran into some control problems and four consecutive walks resulted in four runs — it was to be the highlight of the Royals afternoon. In the bottom of the third, the Cards picked up right where they left off as Jack got his second hit on the day with a sharp single to right. Keegan and Peter walked to load the bases. Greg got a huge two RBI single to right to score Jack and Keegan. Austin walked to score Peter and Daron hit a sharp single to score Greg. After three, the Cards had scored their limit of four runs, three innings in a row. It was now Cards 12 Royals 5.
Robbie went to the mound in the fourth and he looked sharp. After a leadoff walk he struck out two more batters. Jack made a nice play on a groundout — he did tag the runner coming from first for reasons unknown — but it was still an out. When the dust had cleared only two Royals had crossed the plate. In the bottom of the fourth, the Cards picked up right where they left off with a walk to Ian and a pop out to short by Robbie. Ian stole second and moved to third on a wild pitch. He scored on Jack’s third hit of the day. Jack stole second and Keegan drilled a single to score Jack. He stole second and then moved to third on an overthrow and then scored on yet another overthrow. After four it was Cards 15 Royals 7.
Robbie hit the first batter to start the fifth. The next two batters struck out. The runner moved to second on a wild pitch. On a throw back to the mound that got away from Robbie, the runner broke for third. The Cards were right on the play. Keegan who was alertly backing up throws to the mound scooped up the ball and fired across the diamond to Greg at third who crisply made the tag. The inning was over and Robbie had only pitched to three batters. The Cards went down reasonably quietly in the fifth — this reporter would just like to note that Austin picked up his fourth walk on the day and Jack recorded his fourth hit on the day. After five it was still Cards 15 Royals 7.
In the top of the sixth, the Royals had their last chance. Ian came on and threw heat. A leadoff single and a walk and two singles to score two runs started to make things interesting. Ian settled down and struck out the next batter. A groundout to the mound scored a run which the Cards happily traded for an out. Ian stared in at the next batter. He struck him out to end the game: Cards 15 Royals 10.
Coach Goldstein in his post game press conference said “Its hard to complain when your team scores fifteen runs. Our catchers did well in the heat and I think we’ll be ready for the Astro’s on Saturday.” Coach Grossman said, “Its still early in the season, but this is the type of offense our team is capable of. I was very pleased to see Jack go 4-4 on the day. He’s had a great swing and I knew he was going to start really hitting soon. I also enjoyed watching Greg’s sharp smash to right. Our pitchers are looking more and more comfortable on the mound and we’ll work to minimize fielding mistakes as the season progresses. But overall, it was a great game so I don’t want to dwell on any mistakes. I really like how everyone on the team has now generated some meaningful offense and I think that will only grow as the season progresses.”
The Cards continue their home stand against the league leading Astros on Saturday at 6:30. Some tickets remain for what promises to be a great ballgame.