Archive for Thursday, May 11, 2006

The Fly Route

May 11, 2006

I've been wanting to watch the Eudora baseball team play for awhile.

I spend most of my time actually covering sports in De Soto, but every week I read, edit and design the Eudora side of things and for a long while now it's been pretty obvious I was missing something by not having seen the Cardinals play.

Finally I got my chance Tuesday when De Soto visited. I have to say I was impressed.

This Eudora team really has it all, including a little bit of luck in landing the regional tournament in its own backyard this season.

Just three more wins stand between the Cardinals, a regional championship and a berth in the state tournament. Surveying the field of competitors, I'm hard pressed to pick the team that could leave them at home.

It was the sturdiness of Eudora that impressed me. A soccer game sent me to Kansas City Tuesday afternoon, but I made a point to get back in time for the second game of the doubleheader.

The Cardinals officially wrapped up sole possession of the Frontier League title with their 8-1 win in the day's first game, and really, the second game was about little more than pride.

Eudora seems to have plenty of that. It says something when you can win 19 of 20 games in a season. Baseball teams aren't like football or even basketball teams. Playing doubleheaders almost always finds someone in a crunch or leaves a pitcher hanging out to get hammered with no rested help in the bullpen.

You aren't supposed to win that many baseball games. Even Major League Baseball's best team's lose like 40 percent of the time. It's not rare for a major league team with a losing record to win its division and make the playoffs.

Still, the Cards were so near perfect this season it boggles the mind, and following their league-clinching win, they weren't about to forgot that tenacity and sure-handedness that let them get so far.

De Soto actually played a pretty good game in the second contest. The Cats got to starter Kent Swanson and tied the game with two runs in the fifth, but when De Soto threatened, Eudora answered.

I've seen a lot of high school baseball games in the last two years and they often seem to follow a pattern. Kids get aboard. A hit might drive in one or two and an error always seems to really blow things open.

Not with Eudora, however. The Cardinal defense handled a wealth of hard hit balls and dodged bullets as De Soto seemed to have runners in scoring position for the rest of the night.

Kelson Boyer, who has been Cy Young worthy for the Cardinals all season, hit De Soto's lead off batter in the top of the seventh.

If there's anything your not supposed to do in baseball, it's let the leadoff guy on, be it via hit, walk or plunk. A great play on a failed sacrifice bunt made up for the gaff, however and Boyer worked his way around another hit, then finally out of the inning.

Eudora loaded the bases in their half of the seventh and Matthew Abel laid down a sacrifice bunt so perfect it didn't even matter everyone in the park knew it was coming.

That one inning, those 10 batters, showed exactly why this team should roll through its regional. These Cardinals are solid. They're responsible, and they're clutch.

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