Archive for Thursday, May 1, 2008

Third Degree Bern

May 1, 2008

It involves deception, cunning, speed, timing, intimidation and about 90 feet of dirt.

Stealing a base is just that simple, and it's just that hard.

Taking off from first to second is a gamble every time, no matter the circumstances, and based on his style, you could say EHS baseball coach Shaun Edmondson is a betting man.

Base running is the most over-looked portion of a baseball game, and because of that it can be either a huge advantage or an Achilles' heel. For Eudora, its prowess on the base paths could be the difference between a brief stop at regionals and a ticket to the state tournament.

On Tuesday against Baldwin, Eudora stole 13 bases in its two blowout victories. This stat is a little inflated by the level of competition the Bulldogs are a young and error-prone team but this is something the Cardinals have been trying, and succeeding at all season.

"The whole team is really solid at running the bases and that's something we focus on because it's an extra little thing that can help you win games," senior Matthew Abel said. "If we can be aggressive then that might lead to extra bases and that leads to extra runs. It's definitely a big part of our game."

All aspects of the Cards game were on display in Tuesday's victories, but the most important one to notice was their aggressive tendencies on the bases because it's been the one constant throughout this season.

Eudora doesn't always hit for power, its pitchers don't always fill up the stat sheets and early in the season the defense had a tendency to make some careless fielding errors. However, the Cardinals have tried to take second base at every opportunity in every game.

If you think about it, they really don't hit singles at all. What's normally a single for any other team turns into either a double or occasionally an out for Eudora. That's the risk you take trying to steal an extra base, but Edmondson continues to do it because he believes it opens up a lot of other things for his offense.

"If you get a guy on first base, well now their pitcher knows, their catcher knows and all their infielders know we could be running here," Edmondson said. "Just the 'could be' in their mind makes it so the second baseman has to cheat a little bit, the catcher has to be ready and the pitcher tries to be quicker to the dish. All that stuff leads to getting more fastballs that we can hit harder."

You don't really know what you're going to get with this team they scored 20 runs in their first four games, 19 of those in game four which makes it even more exciting to watch. Anything can and probably will happen I'm just waiting for someone to steal home and if the ball bounces the right way the Cardinals could make a run at State.

Just try not to get caught.

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