Cardinals drop two to Pleasant Ridge in season opener
In its first outing, the Eudora baseball team dropped two close games at home to Pleasant Ridge Tuesday night.
The Cardinals lost 4-3 in the opener and 3-2 in the nightcap.
Eudora Coach John Dunaway said despite the losses, he was pleased with certain aspects in the twin bill.
"I was very pleased with our pitchers," he said. "They worked the count pretty well. Hitting, though, we're definitely behind. We've got a lot of work to do offensively. We need to be able to hit better. We just couldn't get it done."
After Tuesday's doubleheader, Dunaway has a better idea of how his team comes together in a game situation.
It gave him a chance to see where the team's weaknesses lie. He plans to make a few changes to how hitting practice is conducted.
"We're just a little bit behind," Dunaway said. "The balance at the plate is not very good right now."
So far, junior Michael Lehman, a transfer from Olathe, is the most consistent.
"He's got the best balance of any players at the plate," Dunaway said. "He's worked his tail off the past two years on hitting. Every time he's up, he hits hard."
Dunaway also noticed that his team's defense is able to stay competitive, with just a few gaps. He said his team might have won the first game if the players had made every defensive play.
The key to winning games is the pitching, which Dunaway said was pretty strong against Pleasant Ridge.
In the first game, sophomore Seth Johnson, a Baldwin City transfer, started for the Cardinals. Senior Dan Chrislip and sophomore Tyler Wingebach also spent some time on the mound. The staff pitched four strikeouts and walked five, including one intentional walk.
Wingebach started the season on junior varsity.
"He's been getting better and better in practice," Dunaway said.
After six innings of play in the first game, the Cardinals trailed Pleasant Ridge 4-1. Lehman and junior Lear Bowling scored in the seventh inning to pull the Cardinals within one run. Eudora was unable to pull together anymore runs for the opener, losing 4-3.
In the nightcap, it looked as if the Cardinals would control the game after they scored two runs in the first inning.
First at bat was Lehman who reached first base on a walk. He worked his way to third with a steal and a passed ball. Then, Johnson was hit by a wild pitch and advanced to first. Bowling was next at bat and also reached first. With the bases loaded and no outs, junior Tommy Shutt stepped to the plate but struck out. Senior Jay Pewenofkit followed, smacking one in the air that was caught. Dustin Stewart then hit a crucial grounder that resulted in a Pleasant Ridge error. Lehman and Johnson were able to score, giving Eudora the early 2-0 edge.
Pleasant Ridge knocked out the first three batters in the second inning and answered in the bottom of the frame with two runs to tie the game at two.
Pleasant Ridge scored the final run of the game in the fifth inning, giving them enough to win, 3-2.
"We kicked the ball which cost us three unearned runs," Dunaway said.
Pewenofkit pitched 4 1/2 innings for the Cardinals in the nightcap.
"Jay did a great job when we needed him in a couple of situations," Dunaway said. "He did a great job staying ahead in the count for the most part."
Senior Jeff Way worked the mound in the late innings.
Pewenofkit and Way combined for seven strikeouts and gave up three walks, one of them intentional.
The Cardinals have a short break before their next game at home Tuesday against Perry-Lecompton. The doubleheader begins at 4:30 p.m.