Dateline: Hook Road 2
It was a perfect spring evening as the Cards made up their rained out game from the night before. Top of the first and Michael leads off with a single. Matthew singles and Michael quickly stole third. Unfortunately, the Cards missed the big RBI and did not score. Bottom of the first and Matthew takes the mound for his first appearance of the year. Two runs scored on some tough plays in the field but Matthew settled down and struck out three. In the top of the second, Maxwell grounded out but made good contact. With two outs, Isaac swung on the first pitch and hit a solid grounder to third. The third baseman made a great throw and beat Isaac to first by a step. Bottom of the second and Matthew returned to the mound. He struck out the first batter and the next batter grounded out to second where Carter made a nice play and threw to Jaime at first for out two. A couple of runners got on and Coach Goldstein brought in John to pitch. He quickly struck out the Nationals cleanup hitter to end the inning. After two, it was 2-0 Nationals.
Top of the third. The first two Cardinals struck out. Michael was hit by a pitch. John made good contact but grounded out to end the inning. Bottom of the third and John went back out to the mound. A few good hits by the Nationals and some misplays in the field and four runs scored. Isaac fielded one ground ball at first for an out and John struck out a batter so it wasn’t like the Nats scored four that easily. After three it was 6-0 Nationals.
Top of the fourth and the Cards came storming back. Jaime led off with a towering stand-up triple to deep center. Matthew grounded out to second but picked up the RBI as Jaime scored. Carter singled, Maxwell hit a hard shot up the middle to put runners on at first and second. Rei grounded into a force at second where the Nationals just got Carter by a step at second. The last batter struck out to end the inning. Bottom of the fourth and Jaime came on and looked sharp. He struck out two and got one batter to ground out to Matthew who fired to Maxwell at second to end the inning.
Top of the fifth. Last chance for the Cards. Mikhail hit a shot up the middle that was just caught by the pitcher for out one. Zack singled. Michael singled and the Cards were in business with two runners on. Zack moved to third on a wild pitch. Unfortunately, the last two Cards struck out to end the game. Final Score: Nats 6 Cards 1.
Coach Grossman was available only briefly after the game due to his preparations for a game on Saturday. He said, “It may seem like we are off to a slow start, but I saw a ton of good things out there today. We made some great plays in the field. Our throwing and catching looked MUCH improved. We have to work a little more on attacking ground balls, but defense has not been our problem. We have only scored a run or two a game and whenever that happens, its going to be awfully tough to win a game. We’ll work more on hitting. I saw a lot of our guys make contact so we are getting there. Our pitchers are throwing plenty of strikes and its great to get three players on the mound even in a four inning game. I am not at all worried about our pitching for the season and that’s usually the hard part of AA. Carter is doing a great job at catcher, Michael did a great job behind the plate and Rei looked much improved in just a couple of games. Once we start hitting, we’ll be fine. We’ll be working on that in practice tomorrow. I will say this team had a fantastic approach to the game, and no one got the slightest bit down even though we were behind and thats only going to help us as the season progresses. ” This reporter asked if Coach Grossman had any explanation for only his third 0-2 start. He said, “You reporters are always focused on things like that. The season is early, we are looking better each game. Lets not worry about the win-loss record and ask me some better questions than stuff like that. I predict we are going to be just fine. We have some great kids, great parents and I have other things to do with my time that answers questions of that nature. “