Garnett victories a jewel in Cardinals’ crown
The Eudora Cardinals baseball team drove 54 miles directly into a fierce wind Saturday to play Anderson County. That wind was clearly at its back on the trip home.
Eudora (5-1) left Garnett with a pair of convincing victories -- 6-2 in the game one and 12-1 in the second game.
The first game matched Cardinal junior Joe Kaup against Anderson County's ace.
Kaup making his first varsity start was spectacular. Eudora's No. 3 starter threw a complete game, allowing just two runs while striking out 11.
Those two runs came on a single swing of the bat. Anderson County delivered a two-run shot over the left field fence in the second inning.
From that point on, Kaup was nearly untouchable.
"Joe (Kaup) was awesome," coach Dirk Kinney said. "He made just one bad pitch.
"That kid's just climbing and getting better everyday."
Eudora picked Kaup up after the home run with four runs in the top of the third. It was an impressive outburst against Anderson County's big and talented hurler.
"I knew coming in that if they threw their ace, it would be a battle," Kinney said. "That kid is going to play college ball somewhere."
The Cardinals generated their third-inning rally with nobody on and two outs.
Senior Aaron Westerhouse got the ball rolling hustling out an infield single. Sophomore Chad Griffin followed with a solid single to left, scoring Westerhouse.
The subsequent at bat was the key to breaking things open. Junior Cole Massey ended a long battle at the plate with a base on balls.
Junior Rod Evinger then walked to load the bases.
Senior Troy Van Horn proceeded to plant a line drive deep in the right center gap -- clearing the bases for a 4-2 Cardinal advantage.
Eudora added single runs in the fifth and the sixth. The fifth-inning tally was by virtue of senior Monte Steffey's beaning with the bases loaded.
Junior Paul Smith scored in the sixth on a Westerhouse sacrifice.
Westerhouse finished the game 3-for-3 with an RBI and two runs scored. Evinger was 2-for-3 with a run scored. And Van Horn had a productive game going 1-for-1 with a double, a walk, a hit-by-pitch and three RBIs.
Smith toed the mound for the nightcap. Like Kaup before him, the start was his first in a varsity game.
Smith was very effective teaming with sophomore reliever Kyle Brouhard, allowing only one run.
"Paul (Smith) threw the ball well," Kinney said. "He left some balls up a little bit but he did a good job.
"And in the second game we just hit the ball better."
Anderson County's run once again came on a home run. For the second time on the afternoon, Anderson County led after two innings.
But Eudora out-scored Anderson County 18-0 in innings three through seven in the two games. Twelve of those 18 runs came in the final three innings of game two.
As he did in the opening match-up, Van Horn ignited the offense -- this time with a towering solo home run.
The Cardinals exploded for five runs in each of the next two innings, closing out Anderson County with a merciful run-rule victory in five innings.
Massey highlighted the scoring in the sixth with a two-run dinger to dead center.
Van Horn finished the contest 2-for-2 with the homer, a double, a walk, an RBI and two runs scored. Sophomores RBI and two runs scored. Sophomores Mark Abel, Miles Cleveland and Chad Griffin each added two hits in the game.
The Cardinals could have gone one of two ways after a potentially devastating April 13 loss to Baldwin. It was an emotional loss to the team's biggest rival.
Eudora rallied from four down, taking a 7-5 lead in the seventh. But the Bulldogs bit the Cards with a three-run rally to take the game.
Such a loss could have demoralized the ball club. But instead the Cardinals allowed it to build mental toughness.
Eudora took that nightcap 8-7 and then took the two in Garnett.
Now the Cardinals try to carry that momentum over to their next contest hosting Wellsville Wednesday -- a game originally scheduled for Tuesday but rescheduled because of rain.
"I'm happy we played a lot better second game (at Anderson County) because now we've got Wellsville," Kinney said. "They're going to be tough. It will be a battle and we're just going to have to get after it."
The Wednesday reschedule is significant with a doubleheader the next day at Spring Hill. And then the Cards come home the following Tuesday for two with Prairie View.