Cards open with easy win
With chilly temperatures and a biting wind, it looked like anything but spring on Monday as the Eudora baseball team took the field for the season opener against Paola.
Fortunately, the Cardinal bats took the home crowd's minds off the weather.
Eudora opened the 2006 campaign by pounding out 12 hits and taking advantage of four errors in an 11-1 run-rule win over the Panthers in Eudora.
"It was a pretty good game overall," Eudora coach Dirk Kinney said. "They're a well-coached team and we just had a good day. We hit the ball hard, even when we hit the ball at people. That's a good sign. We didn't really have any bad at-bats."
With the Cardinal offense doing its part, sophomore Kelson Boyer put together an effective outing on the mound, which all but shut down the Paola bats. The right-hander allowed just one hit in five innings of work, while notching six strikeouts on only 57 pitches.
It was the kind of efficient effort the head coach was looking for out of his starter.
"Kelson threw well today and he was only going to go 80 pitches," Kinney said. "He threw strikes out there and let the defense do the work."
After a scoreless first inning, Eudora jumped in front in the second when senior Luke Abel slapped a single to right field, driving home Chad Krutz from second and giving the Cardinals a 1-0 lead.
Paola managed to tie the game in the top of the third on a double and fielder's choice, but the Cardinal defense put to rest any further threats in the inning with two quick ground-outs.
Eudora answered in its half of the inning with what proved to be the decisive blow. With two on and one out, senior shortstop Kyle Brouhard shot a Chris Hiatt fastball into the left field gap, scoring both runners. Brouhard reached third safely with a triple and then scored on an error on the relay throw, giving the Cardinals a 4-1 lead.
"That was probably the play of the game," Kinney said. "He kind of broke the game open for us and we just went from there."
The Panthers never threatened again as Eudora extended its lead over the next two innings, scoring four runs in the fourth and three more in the fifth.
Senior Chad Griffin belted a double and a triple in that span, driving in two runs.
Sophomore Matthew Abel came off the bench in place of his brother, senior Mark Abel -- who dislocated a finger diving into first base -- and delivered two singles and an RBI during the Cardinals' offensive outburst.
Despite the overall positive performances on offense and on the mound, there are still some issues that concern the coach going into Saturday's doubleheader against Anderson County.
"I wasn't too happy with the base running," Kinney said. "We had two outs and runners on and Chad (Griffin) hits one to the fence and our guys are thinking about going back and tagging up. We got away with some of those today, but those are just mistakes that we cannot make against Anderson County on Saturday or we'll pay for it."