Cardinals sweep Pleasant Ridge
The Eudora High School baseball team had a pitcher's duel during Tuesday night's 12-1, 12-2 Pleasant Ridge sweep. The Cardinals' top two pitchers, juniors Seth Johnson and Heath Fanning, both went the distance and battled for the most strikeouts.
Johnson struck out nine batters and allowed three hits through five innings before the 10-run rule took effect. Fanning struck out a career-high 12 batters in six innings when the Cards' offensive firepower kept the team from competing in the cold weather.
After holding two-a-day practices for pitchers and catchers, coach John Dunaway wasn't surprised with the success of Fanning and Johnson.
Dunaway is hoping the Cards can find a way to defeat teams before the seventh inning, with the "10-run rule through five innings" to rest his top pitchers. He is doubtful it will be a common occurrence with the nine Frontier League doubleheaders this season.
"I was very pleased with our pitching and that's what's going to keep us in games," Dunaway said. "It is horrible to play baseball doubleheaders on Tuesday and Thursday nights, but the run rule saves your pitching. It is not going to happen very often with the teams (in the league)."
In the first game, Eudora held a 6-0 lead before the Rams put their only run on the board. The Cards erupted for six runs in the bottom of the fifth inning to end the game. Juniors Andrew Pyle and Tyler Jackson hit the ball well for Eudora. Freshman Cole Massey played both third base and catcher in his varsity debut.
Dunaway was confident the Cardinals wouldn't submit a lackluster performance in the second game. Even with the score tied 1-1 in the third inning, Dunaway didn't think Eudora would fall into last year's trap of losing the nightcap to a lesser opponent.
"We had that problem last year, but they were really fired up to win the second game," Dunaway said. "The team we were playing didn't have any pitching depth at all and I knew we'd score a lot more before the night was over."
Eudora (2-0) will open its Frontier League schedule on the road against Baldwin, a school with a first-year baseball program Tuesday.
Some of the Cardinals played summer league baseball alongside members of the Bulldogs roster. In fact, junior pitcher Seth Johnson lives in Baldwin but decided to stay at Eudora after the Bulldogs began their baseball program.
Dunaway said Baldwin wasn't an average first year squad and that both squads will bring a lot of emotion to the diamond Tuesday.
"If we play our best baseball, I think we can play with anyone in the league," Dunaway said. "They are better than a first year team, and there will be a lot of emotions running with it. I think it will be a fun night. Hopefully it will be a little warmer."