Cards sweep in spring
Kaup’s strong pitching keys Eudora’s season-opening victory over Paola
The Eudora Cardinals baseball team got things going on a winning note Monday at Paola as the squad belted out 16 hits on its way to a 9-1 victory.
Senior Joe Kaup pitched 5-1/3 innings, while giving up three hits and no earned runs to gain the team's first win.
"This was a great way to start the season," head coach Dirk Kinney said. "We did some things well today."
Kaup took the mound to face the Panthers in the bottom of the first after the Cardinals (1-0) were retired in order. The senior right-hander struggled with his control early on as Paola's Tyler Ketzner reached first base on a strike out and then made his way to second on a passed ball.
Kaup regrouped and struck out the next three batters, leaving Ketzner stranded at second.
"That was just first-game jitters," Kaup said. "I fully expect to have that worked out as the season goes on."
"He (Joe) tries to put the microscope on the game sometimes," Kinney added. "When it came to crunch time, he threw the pitches he needed to."
Senior Paul Smith led off for the Cardinals in the second with a solid single. Senior catcher Cole Massey flied out to center, bringing up shortstop Kyle Brouhard, who promptly singled to left. Senior Rod Evinger then singled to right field scoring Smith and giving the visitors a 1-0 lead. Brouhard tried to make 2-0 on the hit but was gunned down at the plate.
Kaup held the lead in the Paola second, giving up an infield single to the Panthers' Aaron Dykes. Eudora's Massey quickly erased Dykes from the base paths with a quick strike to junior second baseman Miles Cleveland, catching the runner stealing.
The Panthers failed to threaten any further in the inning as Kaup struck out Ori Abel to end the inning.
After a scoreless third inning, the Cardinals came up to bat in the fourth and quickly put the pressure on the Panthers. Eudora found itself with a golden opportunity for a big inning as they had the bases loaded and two out. Cleveland grounded out to second base, ending the inning and the threat.
"That could have been a big game-changer," Kinney said. "You have to take advantage of those situations."
The Cardinals came back in the fifth inning still clinging to their 1-0 lead. As the inning progressed, Eudora suddenly found itself in a carbon copy of the fourth inning and this time took complete advantage of the opportunities.
The bats came alive against Panther pitcher Jake Logan as Eudora plated seven runs in the top of the fifth.
The Cardinals took advantage of some poor defense by the Panthers, as two errors kept the inning alive for the visitors.
Junior Luke Abel scored a run in the inning and delivered a bases- loaded double that plated two more.
"After the fourth inning we needed to get some runs," Smith said. "We got the hits we needed in the fifth and came through."
Smith went 3-for-5 from the plate.
"We needed to get the momentum back that we had lost in the fourth," Massey added.
The big inning put the game out of reach as the Cardinals went up 8-0.
"Those big innings are great," Kinney said. "But you can't live by them all year. We just need to keep doing the little things right."
The Cardinals added another run in the sixth inning as Smith barely missed a home run to deep left. Brouhard came up next and doubled him home.
The sixth inning saw the only bad news the Cardinals had all night. After hitting a routine grounder to second, Cardinal first baseman Chad Griffin collapsed as he tried to beat out the throw.
"Chad popped his hamstring," Kinney said. "I have to be optimistic that he will play on Saturday, but it's too early to say."
Brouhard combined with Rod Evinger in relief of Kaup to finish the game and secure the Cardinals' first win of the season.
Although things went well in the opener, Kinney still sees some things to work on.
"It's hard to tell a team that they're doing something wrong when they're winning," he said. "We missed some signs and had a few problems running the bases. But overall I was pleased with the way we swung the bats."
The Cardinals take on Anderson County at noon Saturday at Eudora.