Dateline: Hook Road 2
It was a hot Spring afternoon as the Cardinals took the field against the vaunted undefeated Orioles. Matthew took the mound and looked great. He shut down the Orioles in the first on two quick strikeouts. In the bottom of the first Carter single, Jamie singled and Carter went to third on a wild pitch. With one out, Carter tried to score on a popup to short and was just nailed at the plate by a step. [Editors Note: Our publication wishes to note this was no fault of Carter’s, it looked to our team reporter as if Coach Grossman sent him home in a very ill-advised coaching maneuver. We are personally getting concerned by errors such as these we have heard rumors that Cardinals management is working to address this issue in the off season.]
In the top of the third, the O’s singled. The next batter singled. The next batter singled to score two runs, but on some overthrows the runner tried to advance but was thrown out at the plate as Carter deftly applied the tag for out two. Michael came on in relief and he made short work of the next batter for out three. Bottom of the third and the Cards went down quietly. After three it was still anyone’s game at 2-0 Orioles.
Top of the fourth and the Orioles picked up a run on some infield errors but Michael settled down and struck out two more batters. Bottom of the fourth, Jamie singled, Matthew grounded into a fielders choice at second for out two. The Orioles settled down and got out three. After four it was still awfully close at 3-0.
In the fifth, Jamie came on and threw heat. He struck out the first batter. The next batter was hit by a pitch. The next batter hit a slow roller to first that resulted in some bad throws and two runs scored on the play. With one out the next batter hit a grounder to Carter who threw nicely to Matthew for out two. Jamie settled down and struck out the last batter. Bottom of the fifth and Jodan led off by being hit by a pitch. Mikhail singled. Jordan moved to third on a wild pitch and scored on an RBI groundout by Isaac.
Top of the sixth and Jamie looked great and struck out the first batter. The next batter singled and tried to go to third on the play, but he was gunned down by the Cardinals as Matthew threw across the diamond to get him by a step. Bottom of the sixth and Jamie singled for his third hit on the day but the Cardinals went down to end the game at Orioles 5 Cardinals 1.
Coach Grossman said, “These Orioles are a good team and they have some momentum from picking up a few wins. Their whole team was on the field at 4:30 with lots of coaches to help warm them up, which helps get in the groove early in the game. “
He continued, “They were swinging the bat well and made some good plays — all that being said I really think our guys can match up with them. The reality is we only scored one run and we threw the ball around on a few plays. Our hitting is getting better and I think we may only be a couple of weeks away from everyone really feeling comfortable at the plate. It takes time, but I think we’ll be ready for them if we see them in the playoffs.” This reporter asked what was going on when Carter was sent home on a routine popup. Coach Grossman said, “You reporters always focus on the negative. It was just my fault — I yelled GO to the runner on first and well its just nuts to think the runner on third isn’t going to hear that and react. It wasn’t even smart to have the runner on first run. I always hate it when I do anything to hurt our teams chances. The bottom of line is our team is really getting better each week, the players all have an outstanding attitude and my experience tells me that eventually the scoreboard is going to reflect all that. So don’t panic, keep getting better and we’ll be fine.”