HAIL TO THE CHAMPIONS
HAIL TO BRANDON SMITH
HAIL TO SAM CRATER
HAIL MANAGER BILL "POPS" RICKENBACH
HAIL TO ALL THE CARDINALS
They are the champions and they did it grand style. The pitching was great, The offense came alive. The defense was solid.
Combined they carried Bill Rickenbach's outfit to the West Shore Twilight League playoff championship and to victory over the Hagerstown Braves, 8-1, with 207 fans looking on at Rickenbach-Shirley Fiield Monday evenng.
At the outset things looked a bit iffy. The Braves scored their lone run in the first inning when Smith was having some location problems. But he quickly resolved them and the deeper he went into the game, the tougher he got. He got a big lift from his defense in the early going. A Teed Wertz to Joe DeBernardis double play ended the second inning. In third with Tristan Baker at second following a two-out double, Jake Crist lined a single to left field. Brayden Lackey scooped up the ball and fired a strike to catcher Ben Snyder who put the out tag on Baker trying to score.
The Braves had a ;pair of runners on in the third but couldn't dent the plate. Another double play followed by a strikeout took care of the fifth. That was it for the visitors. Smith retired them in order in the final two inning to earn his second win of the seaon over the Braves.
That pretty much wraps up pitching and defense for the Cardinals. Smith issued one walk and fanned four.
Now for Sam Crater's work on offense. He enjoyed a great game, finishing just a triple away from hitting for the cycle. He doubled and scored the tying run when Teed Wertz singled in the second inning. An inning later he capped a four-run outburst with a two-run homer over the fence in right center. He singled and scored in the three-run fifth.
Ryan Gray opened the third with a double along the right field line. He took third on a wild pitch and rode home Brayden Lackey's single. Ben Eppley sacrificed Lackey to second. Joe DeBernardis doubled off the left field fence but Lackey had to stop at third. Ben Snyder's sacrifice fly scored Lackey before Crater went yard.
With one out in the fifth DeBernardis drilled his second double of the game down the left field line. At that point Hagerstown starter Ryan Kinter gave way to Connor Cool who yielded a single to Snyder sending DeBernardis home. Crater and Wertz both singled to load the bases. Eric Herbein walked to force in a run and Matt Cody's sac fly closed the scoring.
Thus the Cardinals returned to power in the league. They last won in 2013 over Dillsburg. They did it this season with perhaps the youngest team in the league. There were many games that only nine players were available and Rickenbach had to make do.They finished the league seaspn with a 30-10 record. Next hear could even be better.