Ward again bounces Cardinals
So maybe last year's loss burned a little more. Either way, it had the same result.
One year after losing to Bishop Ward in the Class 4A state championship game, Eudora's baseball season was again brought to an end prematurely. The Cardinals fell 10-0 in six innings Wednesday in the semifinals of the regional baseball tournament.
Eudora scraped out just one hit and three base runners in the run-rule shortened game.
The loss came two days after the team had won its opening round game, a 7-3 victory against Spring Hill.
The win over the Broncos marked Eudora's sixth consecutive win, a streak that saw the team bounce back stronger than ever after an April 26 doubleheader sweep at the hands of Central Heights.
Down 2-0 after Spring Hill's half of the first inning, the Cardinals roared back. Kent Swanson and Brian White both singled and Mike Ortega came through with a huge one-out hit. He lined a double into left center field to score Swanson and White.
"We had a couple big base hits in the bottom of the first," Eudora baseball coach Dirk Kinney said. "If we don't have a good bottom of the first, who knows what happens."
What did happen was White went back to the mound with a tie game and proceeded to shepherd the Cardinals through to the win.
He struck out the first two batters he faced in the second inning, and retired the side in order in the third. Spring Hill finally scraped together another run in the fourth to tie the game at three, but two more scoreless innings from White all but assured Eudora would advance.
"Brian pitched well, especially after the first inning when he had some things he knew he had to correct. He left a change up up, but he battled well," Kinney said.
Pitching in his first post-season game, White said he had no trouble pinpointing his initial problems.
"It's a lot different," he said of pitching in the playoffs compared to the regular season. "You get out on the mound in the first inning and it was nerve-racking."
A little offense went a long way toward calming his nerves.
White himself scored the team's third run, then brought in another with a sacrifice fly in the fourth inning. The fly ball came with the bases loaded and one out. Eudora had opened the inning with three singles and a sacrifice bunt to set it up, but wasn't ever able to get the big base knock it wanted to split everything open.
Instead, the Cards got White's pop fly, a ball he admitted to missing and one that came down in shallow right field. Craig Harper waited on third, then dashed for home on Kinney's signal, barely slipping past the Spring Hill catcher, who had to abandon the plate to field a poorly thrown ball.
Harper was safe, thanks in large part to the throw, and Eudora padded its lead by a very important run.
"We're just trying to press the issue," Kinney said. "We were trying to force the issue and it turned out for the best. It was a huge part of the game. There's a big difference between a two-run game and a one-run game."