Cards sweeping up early
The Cardinals baseball team raced out to a 5-0 start in its 2005 campaign with a pair of doubleheader sweeps this week.
In all four games there has been one word to describe the red-hot start -- offense.
The Cardinals outscored their opponents 61-9 in the four wins, and the head coach likes what he sees.
"We're swinging the bats well," coach Dirk Kinney said. "We're getting on base and when they throw strikes we take advantage.
Eudora started the week Saturday against Anderson County at Eudora.
The Cardinals made quick work of the Bulldogs in game one with a 12-1 win in five innings. The Cardinals' bats came alive in the second inning for seven runs after scoring twice in the first.
Senior pitcher Rod Evinger, returning from a back injury, pitched four innings giving up just one hit.
The return of the left-hander was a welcome sight to the head coach.
"I'm glad to see him back and pitching well," Kinney said. "He threw strikes and was back to form. We're going to need him in the weeks to come."
Senior Paul Smith had two doubles in game one.
Game two saw the Cardinals take a little different approach to putting runs on the board.
After putting up one run in the first inning on no hits, Eudora took advantage of a shaky Bulldog defense to bring four more runs home in the second.
With one out, a pitch hit first baseman Joe Kaup. He then advanced to second on a passed ball. With two outs, Mark Abel singled to drive Kaup home and went all the way to third on a throwing error by the pitcher. Second baseman Miles Cleveland walked, followed by another walk to Luke Abel, which loaded the bases. Paul Smith came to the plate and hit what appeared to be a routine fly ball to right field. The Bulldogs right fielder dropped the ball allowing Mark Abel and Cleveland to score.
After the dust cleared, the Cardinals had a 5-0 lead on only one hit.
Eudora returned to its usual method of scoring in the later innings by pounding out six more runs on the way to an 11-7 win.
Senior Paul Smith got the win going four innings.
Saturday's only negative was that for the second time in three games a hamstring injury hit one of the Cardinals.
Junior Luke Abel sustained the injury in the third inning of the second game.
"It's not as bad as Chad's (Griffin)," Kinney said. "I think he'll be OK."
Tuesday the bats were out with a vengeance as the Cardinals traveled to Prairie View for a doubleheader.
Eudora won both games in impressive fashion, 14-1 and 24-0.
Leading the way in the offensive explosion was junior Miles Cleveland, who went 7-for-9 in the doubleheader and was on base all 11 times he came to the plate.
"When Miles gets on base good things can happen," Kinney said. "He gets things going for us in that lead-off position."
In game one the Cardinals jumped out to a 9-0 lead by the end of the third inning. In game two Eudora wasted even less time by hammering the Buffalos for 10 runs in the first inning.
The bats of Eudora's eight and nine hitters, junior Rodney Spillman and Mark Abel, helped out the offensive explosion.
"It's great when the number eight and nine guys can help out like that," Kinney said. "When you get seven runs out of those two spots it helps immensely."
Smith went 6-for-8 to go along with Cleveland's incredible day.
Aside from the cannons on offense, coach Kinney was pleased with a lot of the smaller things his team did.
"We ran the bases a lot better than we had previously," he said. "And our pitchers threw strikes. We're going to need that in our next games."
Mark Abel pitched in game one for the Cardinals and went four innings allowing five hits. Kyle Brouhard took the mound for game two and went three with four strikeouts.
The Cardinals are 5-0 for the first time in Kinney's tenure, but he knows that it means nothing in the face of upcoming competition.
"We play Spring Hill on Thursday," Kinney said. "They are a legitimate 4A power and we need to be ready. These wins are great but the next few games will be a real test of character for this team."
Eudora faces Spring Hill at 4:30 p.m. Thursday at Eudora.