Archive for Thursday, April 5, 2007

Worth the wait

When weather finally allows, Cardinals roll

April 5, 2007

When baseball players have spectators watching and the high hopes of their team weighing them down when they're at bat, one of two things could happen. The batters could either swing at everything that comes their way or patiently wait for the perfect pitch.

After beating the Prairie View Buffalos 13-3 in the first game of a doubleheader and 14-2 in the second game Tuesday night in La Cygne, it shouldn't surprise anyone what type of batters play f the Eudora baseball team.

Eudora junior Kelson Boyer delivers a pitch Tuesday as the
Cardinals beat Prairie View twice. Boyer struck out 11 in the first

Eudora junior Kelson Boyer delivers a pitch Tuesday as the Cardinals beat Prairie View twice. Boyer struck out 11 in the first game.

Coach Dirk Kinney said the team exhaustively worked on the basic fundamentals like batting during the early practices of the season. Because of that, Eudora was able to ensure wins in both games of the doubleheader.

"We go through a lot of stuff before the season ever begins and talk about what our approach is going to be," Kinney said. "At times, we jump on the first pitch, but we usually do pretty well."

The doubleheader victories came after a tough 7-6 win against Paola last Wednesday. The Cardinals are now sitting at 3-0 for the season.

Where the Cardinals shined Tuesday night was in their starting pitcher, Kelson Boyer. Boyer pitched the entire first game and notched 11 strikeouts, a stat made even more remarkable given that the game only went six innings because of the 10-run mercy rule.

Kinney said Boyer's pitching was strong, which heavily influenced the team's first victory of the night. But when Prairie View did hit off of Boyer's pitching, the Cardinal defense got the ball where it needed to be. The team's defense was like a well-oiled machine.

"Today, Boyer pitched a lot better than he had (against Paola) because he had his defense out there working a lot for him," Kinney said. "Overall they had a strong performance today."

Other players who contributed to the win in the first game were Matthew Abel, who went 3-for-4 and contributed three runs to the final score. Mike Ortega, meanwhile, went 2-for-4 for the game and racked up three RBIs.

The second game saw a relatively quick buildup of six runs by the Cardinals, as the offense outworked the Buffalo defense.

That number of runs slowly rose until the middle of the game.

Kinney said although the Cardinals were winning by 10 runs, the team entered a rut by the middle of the second game. Because of that complacency, Eudora found itself smack in the middle of a slowly progressing game that could have been an ever faster run-rule win than the first, Kinney said.

Kent Swanson pitched the first 3-1/2 innings of the second game. Kinney said he ran into a little bit of trouble, but did a good job for his first start of the season.

Aaron Shockley relieved him and pitched the Cardinals to the end of the game.

"Our defense and pitching were pretty good," Kinney said. "But there are always improvements that we can find. The kids need to understand we can't become complacent when they lead, and that they need to keep taking runs."

With the sun having set, the wind howling and the temperature quickly declining, the game dragged on until the bottom of the fifth inning when the Cardinals were on the defense. Eudora quickly shut down Prairie View making three successive outs.

When all was said and done in the second game, Abel went 3-for-4, Swanson went 2-for-3 with three RBIs and Brian White had two RBIs.

"We just keep going through situational hitting and keep making our boys all-around better baseball players," Kinney said.

The Cardinals are scheduled to play again at 4:30 p.m. Thursday in Eudora against Spring Hill.

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