Eudora uses power and pitching to stop two league rivals
If Eudora baseball coach Dirk Kinney had his way, every game his team played would start with the third inning instead of the first.
Over the past four games, the Cardinals have gotten off slowly in the opening innings only to come alive later in the game.
Thursday's Frontier League meeting with the Louisburg Wildcats was no exception.
The Cardinals used a four-run third inning to rough up Wildcat pitcher Devon Tully en route to a 9-0 victory to remain unbeaten.
"We played a pretty good game today," Kinney said, "except in the first two innings. We made some mistakes in the first two innings. After that we played well."
Eudora (7-0) had early opportunities to get in front but were undone by base-running errors.
Sophomore Kelson Boyer delivered another quality outing for Eudora, pitching a complete game with six strikeouts, and when it counted, the right-hander let his defense keep a scoreless game intact.
In the top of the third inning, the Wildcats mounted their first and only threat against the Cardinal starter.
With the bases loaded, Louisburg squandered its best chance to put Eudora behind for only the second time all season. But a weak ground ball to second baseman Miles Cleveland ended any hopes of an early lead with an inning-ending double play.
"That play was huge," Kinney said. "Like I said, we weren't doing much in the first two innings and they had a big opportunity to go ahead and the double play changed the momentum."
The Cardinals took full advantage of the good fortune by finally getting to Tully in their own half of the third.
Things got under way with two outs as senior shortstop Kyle Brouhard brought leadoff hitter Cleveland around to score with a sharp single to right field. After senior first baseman Chad Griffin reached on a walk, senior Luke Abel sent a fly ball to right field, which was dropped by a lunging Wildcat outfielder. The error sent Brouhard and Griffin across the plate to extend the lead.
Senior catcher Rodney Spillman then finished off the scoring with a triple to the left field gap, scoring Luke Abel and giving the Cardinals a 4-0 lead. It would prove more than enough for Boyer to work with.
"We've been hitting the ball pretty well lately and we just faced one of the best pitchers in the league," Kinney said. "(Our) kids hit more than anybody in the state. They go out and hit seven days a week and it shows."
Eudora would add five more runs in the sixth inning on the strength of five hits, including two extra-base hits.
In the win, Spillman went 2-for-3 with an RBI, while Cleveland finished 2-for-2 with a pair of walks.
"That was a good performance from Miles," Kinney said. "He was on base all day and that's what you need from your leadoff hitter."
The Cardinals will try to remain unbeaten as they host a doubleheader against Gardner Thursday. Eudora then will have a week off, next playing at Wellsville April 20.