Dateline: Fox Mill 1
It was a picture perfect spring afternoon as batting practice began at Fox Mill 1. The Reds continued their homestand against the Cards and Ben Noyovitz again strolled to the mound to start things off. After hitting the first batter, the next batter hit a sharp grounder to Jack at short who quickly flipped to Michael at second and the Reds had their first out. Ben struck out two in the heart of the Cards order to finish the top of the first and only one run scored. The Reds bats were hot in the bottom half of the inning. Matt led off with a single, Devon reached safely on an infield error, Nick hit a shot to score Matt. Mason reached on an error and Devon scored. Jack walked and Ian grounded into a fielders choice at short to score Nick. Finally Garrett, in his first at bat of the season grounded to first to score Jack. After 1, it was 4-1 Reds.
Ben pitched nicely in the second but gave up two runs and his pitch count started to rise so Coach Grossman went to his bullpen. Jack came on and threw some great strikes in the warmups but the Cards were looking for walks and two more runs scored. The Cards went down quietly in the second so after two the Cards had the lead at 5-4.
Garrett came on to pitch the top of the third and he was dominant. The first batter hit a tough grounder to Jack at short who fielded in perfectly and fired to Devon at first for the ought. The next batter struck out and a walk set the stage for a big play by Juan. The next batter smashed a shot to second, Juan fielded it cleanly and alertly tagged the runner to end the inning. The Reds again went down quietly so after three, Reds fans held their breath as they knew they were in a thrilled — the score remained 5-4 Cardinals.
Garrett went back to the mound and gave up a leadoff single but induced the next batter to groundout to him. With a runner on second the Cards leadoff hitter hit a solid single to score the run. The next batter hit a drive to deep center, but Juan (who seemed to be everywhere the ball was) calmly camped under it and made the catch. With two outs the next batter reached on a weak dribbler back to the mound. Coach Grossman again signaled to his bullpen and he brought in Mason to try and finish the inning. A walk and a single scored two runs so the Reds had a 9-4 lead after 3 and a half. In the bottom of the fourth, the Reds fought back. Devon walked and Nick grounded into a fielders choice at short. Devon stole second and advanced to third and home on wild pitches. Mason and Jack walked to set the stage for Ian. With one out he came through with a clutch single to score Mason. With two outs, Alec hit a nice single to score Jack and end the inning. After four it was 9-8 Reds.
In the fifth, Mason was dominant and struck out the side. The Reds started to rally. Sean led off with a single and went to second and third on a wild pitch. Ben was then at the plate with one out. Coach Grossman, feeling good about things sent Sean on a wild pitch. On a thrilling play at the play, Sean was declared out and this reporter heard some fans groan “Not again, Coach Grossman is always so eager to send guys home and it just didn’t pan out”. Ben then smashed a drive to right and went to second on a bad throw. Coach Grossman gave him the steal sign and the Reds made a great play and got him a third. Fans were clearly looking to read the fine print on Coach Grossman’s contract.
With a one run lead the Cards batted in the sixth. The first batter lofted a fly to right that landed safely for a single. The next three batters walked but Mason settled down and struck out two of them and induced one to a hit a weak grounder to first where Nick made a great play.
When the dust had cleared the Cards led 12-8. Matt led off with a single and Devon and Nick walked but the Cards pitcher made the adjustments and held the Reds to only two. And so it ended at 12-10 Cards.
Coach Grossman was available only briefly as he has a short planning week and most immediately begin preparing for the game on Saturday. He said “I am very proud of this team. Everyone improved quite a bit from our last game and I think if we keep improving we’ll be fine.”
Coach Goldstein returned today and said “I liked how everyone ran through the base and did a fine job getting ready to hit.