Sweeps don’t come sweeter as Cards beat Cats
The doubleheader baseball games against De Soto Tuesday were more than simple victories. Baseball coach Dirk Kinney said the 6-5 and 5-2 wins indicated something much more important than quality play: Team cohesiveness.
After a two-week stretch that has seen the team deal with disappointing losses and the dismal of leading pitcher Kelson Boyer, that's a welcome thing.
"They've dealt with a lot of adversity," Kinney said. "Adversity is a part of life, and for 16- and 17-year-olds to be able to deal with it is difficult. They've done well.
"Their body language was great today, that's part of why I'm so proud of them. They played the game the right way."
In the first game, De Soto tied things up at 5-5 in the sixth inning, making extra innings seem unavoidable. But after the Wildcats put in a new pitcher in the seventh inning, the game was all but over. The winning run scored after the De Soto pitcher hit Jared Reetz after giving up one single and two walks, allowing the winning run to trot home.
Kinney said hitting was strong in the first game. Kent Swanson went two for four, Chad Krutz went two-for-two, Morgan Abel and Reatz both went two-for-three.
The second game wasn't nearly as close, with the Cardinals putting the distance between them and the Wildcats almost immediately.
Krutz came through with more than just his bat in the second game. Filling in on the mound, he only allowed five hits and gave up the two earned runs. Kinney said Krutz's contribution to the team was very much appreciated, and he had enjoyed watching Krutz develop into a strong pitcher.
"He's found his swing a little bit, and on the mound, when he's on, he's very good," Kinney said. "He has taken advantage of an opportunity. He's throwing with a lot of heart, and I love that."
Krutz also hit well, going three-for-four in the second game.
But Kinney said Krutz's impact was only highlighted because of strong defensive play. He said when Krutz was hit off of, the defense moved quickly and got the batter out -- the defense was very tight.
Kinney said the wins did not come easily. He said De Soto was a good team that knew how to play a strong game of baseball.
"De Soto is a fine club," Kinney said. "They are well coached and have a lot of good athletes. I tip my hat to them. They do a lot of very good things and didn't make it easy on us."
The Cardinals are not scheduled to play again until next week, when regional playoffs begin. Eudora will play at the 3 and 2 Baseball Club of Johnson County in the regional hosted by De Soto.
Kinney said based off of how Eudora played against De Soto, the team was more than ready for the challenge of the tournament.
"With as much as they've been through, I'd hope they are ready," Kinney said. "They're excited about playoffs. But playoffs are always exciting no matter what your record is."