Eudora seniors say goodbye with split
Folks’ lead-off triple sets tone in second-game victory over visiting Baldwin
After working its way back to the .500 mark, the Eudora Cardinals softball team found itself on the losing end of a doubleheader sweep last week at the hands of Louisburg and Prairie View.
It was senior night Thursday and the Cardinals hoped to erase the memory of the sweep.
It didn't begin as planned.
The Cardinals ended with a split doubleheader that found them surrounded by Bulldogs.
Baldwin and Anderson County came to town to try and add another loss to the Cardinal resume.
In game one, the Anderson County variety of bulldog did its part by handing the Cardinals a 7-4 loss.
"We seemed like we weren't in the game," coach Cara Kimberlin said. "We made some mistakes."
The Cardinals were playing catch-up from the beginning as Anderson County jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead after the first half inning.
Eudora starter Caitlyn Riser struggled early against the Bulldog bats.
"Caitlyn struggled a little bit," Kimberlin said. "Her pitches were hanging, and they were able to get some good swings."
The Cardinals answered in the bottom of the first with a single tally, cutting the lead in half.
Anderson County promptly got the lead back to two in the second inning.
In the bottom half of the second, the Cardinals were set up to take the lead.
The lower third of the lineup got the ball rolling and the Cardinals put one run across, slashing the lead back to one at 3-2.
With two outs, a Cardinal runner was caught in a run-down after not realizing second base was occupied. The Bulldogs gunned the runner down at first, ending the rally.
The mistake was especially frustrating to the head coach.
"You don't expect some of your older players to make mistakes like that," Kimberlin said.
In the third, the Bulldogs took advantage of the Cardinals' missed opportunities by plating two more runs, extending their lead to 5-2.
Riser was lifted after 2- 1/3 innings in favor of sophomore Brynn Hamilton.
The Cardinals rallied to close the lead to 6-4, but a late run by the Bulldogs in the top of the seventh ultimately proved too much and sealed the Anderson County victory.
Although the Cardinals failed to capitalize on some of their opportunities, the coach recognized the effort of the opposition.
"Their pitcher was good," Kimberlin said. "We found out early in the game that she would be tough to pitch. I was impressed by how much they've improved from last year."
The Cardinals took a much-needed break in between games to allow the Bulldogs to go at each other.
It was the break they were looking for.
The senior night ceremonies, which allowed the crowd to say farewell to seniors Jacqueline Pyle, Alissa Hamilton, Kayla Moyer, Kelly Becker and Jamie Bowser, quickly allowed the squad to regroup and relax.
"The break was something I think the girls needed," Kimberlin said. "The senior ceremonies were nice, plus they got to watch the baseball game for the first time this year and I think that helped them relax."
The break immediately transferred to the second game as the Cardinals did to the Baldwin Bulldogs what Anderson County did to them.
Eudora set the tempo early as lead-off batter Beth Folks parked a triple up against the fence. The Cardinals capitalized and gave junior Karen Spence everything she needed on the way to a 5-0 victory.
"We were loose in the second game," Kimberlin said. "We just got out early. It was totally different from the first game."
Spence went on to pitch a gem for the Cardinals, going the distance and giving up a mere two hits.
"Karen pitched great," Kimberlin said. "She kept her pitches down and helped us win."
The win was the second for the Cardinals against Baldwin. Eudora split a doubleheader at Baldwin earlier in the year.
Eudora (7-9) travels to Osawatomie Thursday for a split doubleheader with De Soto. The Cardinals play the second and third games of the evening. The first game begins at 4:30 p.m.