It was a beautiful spring day at the newly renovated Browns Chapel 3 in the Cards season opener. Jamie went to the mound and threw heat. He struck out the first two batters and the last batter grounded back to the mound and Jamie tosses to Michael at first for out three. The Cards jumped on the Cubs starter in the bottom of the first. Michael singled. Jamie hit a long double to left off the soft toss to score Michael. He promptly stole third and scored on Carter’s RBI ground out to short. After one it was 2-0 Cardinals.
In the top of the second, the Cubs scored two runs on some well hit balls, but Jamie settled down and struck out the side to end the inning. The Cards mounted a threat as Mikhail singled and then went to second on an overthrow. He stole third. Zack grounded back to the mound and the Cubs pitcher threw home to just get Mikhail by a step on a close play at the plate. After two, it was all tied up at two a piece.
John came on to the mound and looked sharp. He struck out two batters and the last batter hit a chopper back to the mound where John threw to Isaac at first for out three. In the bottom of the third the Cards went down in three batters and so the game moved to the fourth. The Cards defense had some trouble in the fourth and four runs scored for the Cubs and the Cards again went down in order.
In the top of the fifth, Max came on and threw some blistering fastballs. He struck out three batters in nine pitches. In the bottom of the fifth the Cards were again retired three up and three down. Top of the sixth, Max back out to the mound. It was more of the same. He struck out three more batters on ten pitches. Bottom of the sixth, Cards last chance. Mikhail is hit by a pitch. He calmly brushed it off and trotted to first. Zack reaches on a single. First and second, no outs. The Cards fans came alive, but unfortunately, the Cubs closer settled down and retired the next three batters.
This reporter asked Coach Grossman why his teams always seem to start a little slow (6-6 record in opening games) overall. He said, “Well, I didn’t know my whole record on that. I think my teams do tend to start a little slow as we work hard on the fundamentals and strength and conditioning and we don’t start working things like team defense as soon as some other teams. Generally the hitters lag behind the pitchers at this point in the season. I saw a lot of good things out there. The Cubs are a strong team and they have a great coach. I really liked how Jamie, John, and Max looked on the mound and Carter, Rei and Michael looked very solid behind the plate. What I like about this team is we really do have a several kids who can throw strikes so it gives us a lot of flexibility. We’ll certainly focus on team defense and hitting on Tuesday and we’ll be ready to go on Wednesday. This team has a wonderful attitude — I saw a lot of players really paying attention on defense and that is only going to help us as the season progresses. Once we start hitting, we are going to be just fine. “