ANOTHER ONE! Early Ugly Pool Play Loss a Distant Memory as Cardinals Ride Great Pitching and Defence the Rest of the Way; The West Coast Cardinals are the 2018 RCBA Queen Victoria Invitational CHAMPS!

Posted May 19, 2018


ANOTHER ONE! Early Ugly Pool Play Loss a Distant Memory as Cardinals Ride Great Pitching and Defence the Rest of the Way; The West Coast Cardinals are the 2018 RCBA Queen Victoria Invitational CHAMPS!

The West Coast Cardinals were looking to improve on a second place finish last year at the 2017 RCBA Queen Victoria Invitational, last year's final wasn't pretty as the Cards got shelacked 9-0 against a very well-rounded Okotoks Dawgs team. This year with how the pools are schedule were made, it was all about just making it to the finals knowing the quarter-finals and semi-finals were going to be the two toughest games. Little did anyone know that West Coast would have to rebound from giving up 16 runs in the first game...making it a pretty special tournament win!

 

NorthShorePrep 16 CARDINALS 3 (Pool Play)

The Cards opened up the brief group stage on Thursday night against the North Shore Twins prep team, the first prep team ever to compete in Richmond’s Victoria Day weekend tournament. Duncan-Wu got the start, and he appeared to have everything under control through a 1-2-3 top of the 1st. Twins’ starter Seltzer countered with a 1-2-3 bottom half... then came the top of the 2nd. The short version - it was an inning from hell for the Cards. The Twins could do no wrong and the Cards could do nothing right. Duncan-Wu departed down 3-0 with the bases loaded and nobody out, having allowed four hits with two more reaching on errors. In came McRae, thrust into an impossible situation to attempt to limit the damage. The first batter he faced tapped a weak groundball just over his head and underneath the shortstop’s glove, the third Cardinals error of the inning, once again failing to record a single out. 9 consecutive batters reached base to start the inning, before the final out of the 1st inning produced the first out of the 2nd inning. Then Dalla-Zanna stepped into the box for the second time in the inning and proceeded to work a 10-pitch, bases-loaded walk. You’ve got to be kidding. McRae struck out the next batter for the second out, then came out of the game two batters later because he had already thrown 40 pitches in the inning – if he went over 45, he’d be ineligible to pitch again until the semi-finals on Monday. Heilker came in to finally end the Cards’ suffering, but not before the Twins cooked up A DOZEN runs. Duncan-Wu, McRae and Heilker, with a little help from the defence, combined to throw 74 pitches in the never-ending inning. At this point, the best the Cards could hope for was to avoid getting mercied and keep themselves within striking distance in a potential runs against tie-breaker scenario. The top of the Cards’ order rallied to tally 3 runs in the bottom of the 3rd, all with two out and nobody on. Hendriks started it with a double down the left field line, then Rogers walked to set the table for Tong and Lefebvre, each delivering RBI singles to cut the deficit to nine runs. That was all the offense the Cards would muster in their five offensive innings, as the Twins regained their mercy win by scoring a pair in the 4th and another pair in the 5th against Rogers, who pitched the last three innings for the Cards. It was a night to forget, and it made the road to championship Monday much more difficult, the Cards suffering just their second loss of the season, 16-3 the final. - JO

 

CARDINALS 9 SherwoodPark 1 (Pool Play)

The Cards were faced with a must-win situation bright and early Saturday morning. They needed to beat Sherwood Park, AB and hope that North Shore also beat them later that day in order to squeak into the quarterfinals on Sunday. It took the Cards a while to settle into this game, as they appeared to be dealing with some nerves through the first three innings. They stranded the bases loaded with one out in the 1st, went down 1-2-3 in the 2nd, then stranded runners two more runners in scoring position in the 3rd. They relied on starting pitcher Yuen to keep them in the game, which you could always count on him to do. However, the Cards did fall behind once again in the bottom of the 3rd. The Athletics’ #8 batter caught the Cards’ centre fielder playing far too shallow and drove Yuen’s first-pitch fastball over his head for a leadoff double. It didn’t take long for Sherwood Park to cash him in, as the very next batter cracked another double to give them a 1-0 lead. Yuen would retire the next three batters and strand a runner on third to end the inning. The Cards desperately needed some sort of response, and they managed to break through in the top of the 4th. Waters led off with a single, then Heilker drew a walk before Nagatomo advanced both runners with a sacrifice bunt. Then it was Lamourea’s chance to put his mark on the game, having seen limited action over the last month thanks to an unfortunate ankle injury. Waters came home to tie the game on a wild pitch during the AB, eventually resulting in another walk. Now the squeeze play was on, Hendriks somehow got the bat on the pitch that was labelled for his ribs and bunted it hard back to the pitcher. The throw to the plate was high, but Heilker was still called out at the plate for out #2, a questionable call to say the least. The “big hit” has often evaded the Cards for a good chunk of this season, but not this time, as Rogers floated a single into centre field, bringing two runs home and giving the Cards their first lead. Tong hammered the first pitch he saw over the left fielder’s head for an RBI double, cashing in Rogers for the Cards’ fourth run of the inning. The fifth run of the inning was a bit of a gift – Lefebvre popped one into shallow right field, a little miscommunication resulted in two Athletics and the baseball lying on the ground, as Tong scored and Lefebvre made it all the way to third on the play. Yuen’s day on the bump was done after going 5+ strong, striking out 9 batters and preserving his arm for Monday. Hendriks was extremely efficient in taking over mound duties, needing just 27 pitches to record the final six outs of the game – five out of six outs were strikeouts, 22 out of 27 pitches thrown were strikes. The Cards tacked on four insurance runs in the 6th to put this one out of reach, the last couple of which came on a bizarre dropped 3rd strike play, you can watch this little league action HERE. In the end, the Cards bounced back to qualify for Sunday’s quarterfinals, 9-1 the final over Sherwood Park. - JO

 

CARDINALS 1 DeltaOrange 0 (Quarter Final)

With a win over Sherwood Park in pool play and some much needed help from North Shore Prep Saturday afternoon the West Coast Cardinals advanced to the playoff rounds on Sunday as the second seed in Pool A. With everyone anticipating a must-see semifinal matchup between Frick’s Delta Orange Tigers and Yam’s West Coast Cardinals, they all got their wish a day early as the top 2 BC (Minor) Baseball Bantam AAA teams would square off (for the first official time this year) in Sunday’s quarterfinal showdown, winner moving on to the next stage of the gauntlet while the loser forced to play in a disappointing consolation game on Monday. Both teams had their arguably their top arm on the mound, Hendriks toed the rubber for the Cardinals. #38 in red had never faced the Delta Tigers in his career and was opposed by equally hard-throwing Boston Warkentin of the Tigers, both second year vets were armed and ready to push their respective club into the semifinals of this year’s RCBA Queen Victoria Invitational.

Frick opted to choose home for this marquee matchup and the Cardinals wasted no time taking advantage of first cracks on the bats. In the top of the 1st, Warkentin who features one of the hardest fastballs in BC (Minor) Baseball Bantam AAA was faced with the task of neutralizing leadoff hitter Hendriks to begin the ballgame. And that he did as Warkentin would retire Hendriks via. a swinging strikeout but found himself behind 3-1 in the count to a tantalizing hitter in Marc-Olivier Rogers. Rogers would drive the hitter’s count fastball over the head of Noah Cassie at 1st for the first base hit and baserunner of the ballgame. With 3-batter Tong at the plate who was undoubtedly West Coast’s hottest hitter in the last 5 games going 9/17 at the plate while reaching base at a clip of .600, Tong got his opportunity to drive in the first run of the game as Rogers would work his way around to 3rd base courtesy of a wild pitch and pass ball setting up a full count offering with 1 out to Tong. With Frick imagining that the game couldn’t possibly end 1-0 the 2015 BC (Minor) Baseball 15U Coach of the Year opted to have his infield play back, Tong would take full advantage as the Burnaby native acquired from the Whalley Chiefs grounded out to Willy Wilson at SS scoring Rogers with ease giving West Coast a quick 1-0 lead after a half inning of play.  Delta’s Ryan McCarthy was eager to get his Tigers team off on the right foot as the second year centre fielder for the Tigers would hit a first pitch chopper off the plate to Giesbrecht at 2B, the throw was just late as McCarthy would reach first getting the Tigers going. With an 0-1 count on 2-batter Wilson, Wilson would groundout into a fielder’s choice later advance to 2nd on a wild pitch. The dangerous bat of Noah Thomas was now up to bat with the even more dangerous bat of Boston Warkentin lurking on deck. With Thomas protecting in a 1-2 count, Hendriks and Lefebvre would team up to record a huge strike em’ out throw em’ out ending the inning and putting all the momentum back on West Coast’s side. Watch the huge 2 out sequence HERE.

For most of the ballgame, both starters were dialed in. The Cardinals got runners on base each of the first 5 innings; they stranded 2 runners in the 2nd inning, hit into a controversial double play in the 3rd, and in the 4th they got robbed by Tigers’ McCarthy in CF on a ball that would of scored at least one run (watch the 4th inning catch HERE). For Frick and his Tigers, they couldn’t muster much off Hendriks who was reaching up to 80 MPH on his fastball while complementing that with a knee-buckling curveball and devastating changeup. Their best chances came in the 3rd and 4th innings where in the 3rd with a runner on, Tanton McNeill hit a line drive shot to the Cardinal left-fielder who was perfectly positioned in the left-centre gap by coach Joseph O’Krafka, the Tigers failed to cash in the runner as McCarthy wasn’t able o produce with 2 outs while Cassie was also unable to cash in the runner at 3rd in the 4th inning. Hendriks would get McCarthy to groundout to Giesbrecht and get Cassie to flyout to shallow centerfield where Rogers would come bolting in from LF to make the catch and end the threat. The 5th and 6th innings saw both starters at their peak as Warkentin would strike out Waters for the 3rd time in the ballgame to keep it a 1 run game heading into the bottom of the 6th, Warkentin would let out a rare display of emotion on the mound after striking out Waters on his 94th pitch of the game letting out an emphatic “Let’s Go!”. Hendriks was equally up to the task in the Tigers’ offensive half of the 6th as he would retire Siemens on strikes and then the top 2 Tigers in the order McCarthy and Wilson putting him at a measly 59 pitches after 6 innings of work. Noah Thomas who came in with 1 out in the 7th worked around a fielding error to retire the Cardinal side setting up an exciting bottom of the 7th.  

With Hendriks who was sporting the red Cardinal button-up with stirrups standing tall on the mound and completely in control, he had to find a way to get 3 more outs with the daunting meat of Frick’s order due up. Thomas, Warkentin and Cassie 3-4-5 stood between Hendriks and a complete game victory. Thomas would wave at a 1st pitch curveball from Hendriks that crossed almost the entirety of the plate, then proceed to foul a fastball straight back to the screen before Hendriks pulled out the abbreviated delivery and blowing arguably his hardest fastball of the game past Thomas giving the aforementioned Thomas a hat trick on the day and Hendriks his 6th strikeout. Watch the big first out on Thomas HERE.  With Hendriks’ starting counterpart now due up, hitless in his previous 2 at-bats, Warkentin was looking to change that and things were looking up for Warkentin who went up 3-1 in the count but a well-spotted Hendriks fastball got the cleanup hitter to groundout routinely to Yuen at SS for the 2nd out of the inning. Down to their last out, Hendriks tried to get ahead of Cassie with a first pitch fastball but Cassie was ready and drove the fastball back where it came from forcing Frick to go to his bench for his only running option in Sam Sarkissian. The pinch running option would prove to be moot as Bach on the first pitch smashed a ball to straight away centre which was fittingly gobbled up by the only player to record an RBI in this game, the ex-Whalley Chief native Trevor Tong. Watch the loud out HERE.

Long time Coquitlam-native Cody Hendriks was simply phenomenal in this 68 pitch 2 hit 6 strikeout CGSO performance, while Tong’s RBI groundout back in the 1st inning was all that was needed in order to win easily the most exciting game thus far this tournament.

It was a game you had to be at to experience the thrill, the emotion, the passion and intensity every pitch brought as both teams laid everything they had on the table straight from warmup. It was just another chapter in the Frick vs. Yam saga but one that will never be forgotten as both starters and leaders of their respective ballclubs pitched their hearts out. At the end of the day the “side of death” that this year’s RCBA Queen Victoria Invitational provided gave everyone the entertainment and ballgame they were anticipating. - LY

 

CARDINALS 1 NorthShorePrep 0 (Semi Final)

Four days after the Cards were embarrassed by the Twins in the opening game of the tournament, they met again in the semi-final. The beautiful thing about baseball is that what happened four days prior doesn’t mean anything anymore – all that matters now is the present. Both teams were expecting a much different, closer game, and it started with a heavyweight pitching match-up. The Twins sent lefty skyscraper Engel to tower over the Cards’ bats, and he would aim to outduel none other than Yuen, starting his sixth game out of eight played on Blundell’s South Diamond in the last couple of seasons. First time through the order, the Cards had a difficult time putting balls in play against the hard-throwing lefty. Rogers chopped one in the hole on the left side of the infield and beat out the throw to first, but soon afterwards was cut down at second on a failed hit-and-run. Tong and Lefebvre both walked with two out, but Yuen popped up to end the threat. Engel needed only 12 pitches to strike out the side in the 2nd – at that point it seemed as though Engel would be a tough egg for the Cards to crack. Meanwhile, Yuen wasn’t quite coasting along in the first couple innings. Twins’ centre fielder Cameron battled Yuen for an 11-pitch AB with Dalla-Zanna standing on second base in the bottom of the 1st, coming inches from dropping an RBI single on the inside of the right field line before going down looking. They weren’t getting the results they were hoping for, but the Twins put together quality at-bats first time through their order, rapidly escalating Yuen’s pitch count. But when all was said and done, it was a pitching performance for the record books for Yuen. 6 2/3 innings pitched, 11 strikeouts, and only one other base-runner allowed the entire outing. With one out in the bottom of the 4th, #2 batter Lake tapped one softly down the third base line that Lefebvre bare-handed and gunned over to first just a hair too late. The Twins attempted to execute a delayed steal just as they did in the 1st, but Cardinal catcher Nagatomo wasn't going to be fooled twice as he gunned Lake out at 2nd. Watch Nagatomo nab Lake out at 2 HERE.

The Cards only needed a single run to get by the pesky Tigers in the quarterfinal, and the semi-final was shaping up to be a very similar type of game. They scratched one across in the first on Sunday, and this time the run they needed came in the top of the 3rd. Back-to-back two-out walks to Rogers and Tong would come back to haunt the Twins as Lefebvre stepped up to the plate, worked the count to 2-2 before delivering the big hit of the game, cashing in Rogers on the play. Watch the big RBI single from Lefebvre HERE. The Cards had much steadier traffic on the bases despite only scoring the one run, managing 11 baserunners in the game. The Twins were down to their final out when Yuen was forced to leave the game due to pitch count, Suzuki looking to secure his team a spot in the final for the second straight year. Once again, Lake would reach base on a single to right field, bringing the always scary Dalla-Zanna back up to the plate. He did not disappoint, producing a very scary final out, to which the Cards and their coaching staff could finally breathe easy having punched their ticket to the final, pulling out their second 1-0 victory in as many games. Watch the final out from the amazing semifinal game HERE- JO

 

CARDINALS 13 CowichanValley 2 (Gold Final)

After exhilarating 1-0 quarter-final and semi-final wins against Frick’s Tigers and Magano’s Twins, the fight and task still wasn’t over. Standing in the Cardinals way was Lafleur’s Mustangs who without question had a much easier road to the final, the Cowichan Valley Mustangs easily handled their pool play opponents Chilliwack and Delta Blue by scores of 13-5 and 10-0 respectively. The Mustangs’ quarterfinal opponent was Ridge Meadows from the tier 2 BC Baseball Bantam AAA division who they beat by a score of 11-1 they then proceeded to win their closest matchup on the road to the final sending Parkland packing early defeating the Alberta squad in the semis by a score of 4-1.  And there you have it, a final between the Cards and the Mustangs, a team who they just swept on the island just 9 days ago, the latter of the two games that day ending in an exciting international rules finish.

With the Cards losing the coin toss and Lafleur opting to choose home in the pivotal final game of the RCBA Queen Victoria Invitational, numerous records were now on the line for the Cards. Undefeated this year when wearing red jerseys (as opposed to a .600 W% when wearing white), undefeated this year as the away team and undefeated this tournament in the first base dugout. West Coast sent out Alex Duncan-Wu to toe the rubber for them as the Tri-City Bantam AA graduate was looking to rebound from his last start which came in the 16-3 spanking at the hands of the North Shore Twins back on Thursday. In a curious decision, Lafleur sent his horse to start the final, it was curious decision because his horse, James Joyce had only 55 pitches to work with (Joyce threw 40 pitches earlier in the semifinal). Joyce didn’t have a great experience back in early April against the Cards when he relieved game 1 for 29 pitches then was back on the mound starting in game 2 where the aforementioned Joyce got hit hard giving up 7 earned on 6 hits and 4 walks in just under 2 innings of work. Today was almost the same scenario as Joyce was back on the mound after relieving the semifinal but it was clear both starters were looking to rebound from those rough patches.

With an all-star 3 man umpiring crew in place, clear blue skies and many on hand to witness a good ballgame, we were set to go in the final of the 2018 RCBA Queen Victoria Invitational. Joyce got some help from the Cardinal 1-2-3 hitters to begin the top half of the 1st as Hendriks, Rogers and Tong all went down like flies chasing high fastballs and popping them up one after another giving Joyce a briskful 8 pitch inning. Lafleur’s Mustangs were looking for revenge after getting swept at home last weekend against the same Cardinal team and dropped their record to 1-3 this year vs. the West Coast Cardinals. Cowichan’s first base coach wasn’t playing any games either as from first pitch delivered by Duncan-Wu he was trying to “discreetly” steal signs from Cardinal catcher Lefebvre but the attempts were quickly nullified and taken care of and we got back to playing baseball as the Mustangs’ leadoff hitter Schure reached first on the dropped third strike. With Yam going back to his vintage middle infield from last year Hendriks at SS and Yuen at 2B, the pair of vets wasted no time rolling the game’s first double play as Tiemer would groundout 6-4-3. The “Taylor-made” double play proved to be huge as the very next batter Joyce smashed a ball to deep right-centre that just knicked off the glove of Tong in CF for a triple, the triple would become moot as Duncan-Wu would get cleanup stick Freer to groundout to Yuen at 2 to end the threat and inning.

Both starters would work around base hits in their half of the 2nd inning, bringing us to the 3rd inning where Waters would get the party started for the Cardinals with an inside-out base hit that fell into RF to lead off the top of the 3rd. With Heilker striking out, that brought up 10-batter and starting pitcher Alex Duncan-Wu in what would be the most crazy sequence of events witnessed. With the potent leadoff bat of Hendriks looming on deck, Yam knew that he would take Hendriks hitting with a runner in scoring position and 2 out all day so he had switch hitter Duncan-Wu try a push bat from the left side of the plate in an attempt to catch the Cowichan defense napping but more importantly move Waters to 2nd base.  A ball and failed bunt attempt later, Duncan-Wu now had a 1-1 count on him with 1 out when Joyce attempted a pickoff at 1st and overshot his 1st baseman as Waters advanced to 2nd on the error. Yam knew he now had 2 chances to try and score Waters from 2nd so he gave Duncan-Wu a signal to swap sides and bat from the right side seeing if he could strike lightning in a bottle with a base hit off a pesky Joyce. Duncan-Wu gave it all he got and hit the very next pitch (this time standing in the right-handed batter’s box) into deep left-centre as spectators near and far had an expression on their face of shocked or excited, Waters jogged home from 2 and Duncan-Wu ended up on 3 helping his own cause on the mound. You can see the huge RBI triple HERE. It wasn’t over as Cowichan’s scorekeeper quickly noticed that Duncan-Wu had switched sides in between the 2nd and 3rd pitch of that at-bat and notified Cowichan’s head coach Lafleur who when Joyce was about to deliver the 1st pitch of the AB to the next hitter Cody Hendriks, Lafleur called “TIME!” which stopped Joyce’s motion on the mound. Because Joyce stopped his motion and the umpires didn’t grant “TIME” they issued a balk and awarded Duncan-Wu home on the balk. You can see how it transpired HERE. After much discussion between the umpires, they came to the conclusion that because Joyce balked, Cowichan was not allowed to protest or question the previous call of Duncan-Wu switching sides in between pitches. If Joyce didn’t balk and they immediately appealed the decision, the umpires would have had to engage in a rule consultation (eventually finding out that switching sides as many times during an at-bat is legal). Either way Cowichan would allow 3 more baserunners to reach that inning but strand the bases loaded striking out Lefebvre and getting Yuen to fly out keeping it at 2-0 Cards after 2 ½ innings.  The Mustangs would get 1 run back in the bottom half of the 3rd to make it 2-1 Cards after 3 innings.

West Coast would once again threaten in the top half of the 4th as Suzuki would hit hard double down the first base line and watch as Maunahan the hitter that followed would drop one into the outfield putting runners on the corners with none out. However, Cowichan would escape yet another big jam as some subpar at-bats had the Cards stranding the runners and holding on to a narrow 1 run lead. Cowichan put the pressure on in the 4th as their biggest offensive inning and threat came in this bottom half of the 4th, Freer would sit on curveball and leadoff the offensive 4th with a single. A popped up bunt by Wright would be the first out of the inning only to see Freer move to 2nd three pitches later on a pass ball. Branting, the next batter in line would bloop one into CF as Freer who had to hold on the bases to make sure the ball was down first stayed on 2nd putting two runners on for lefty-stick Thomasson. Yam didn’t hesitant and went out to the mound and called on lefty Suzuki for the long relief effort. Suzuki who was unhittable against the Mustangs last Saturday for 4 innings of relief work was looking to shut down the same Mustangs this time in a much bigger time and place. Thomasson was ready for Suzuki’s first offering as the lefty stick would hit the ball right back up the middle scoring Freer and both Branting and Thomasson advancing into scoring position on the error by CF Tong. With the game tied and Cowichan runners at 2nd and 3rd with 1 out, Suzuki fell behind the 8-batter 3 balls no strikes, Yam wasn’t letting Jackson (8-batter) have a chance to hit in a hitter’s count as he put the intentional walk on to load the bases for bottom of the order Plester. The move would pan out as Plester would hit a weak groundball to Waters at 3rd who came home for the force out and 2nd out of the inning. With the bases still loaded and leadoff hitter Matt Schure up to bat, the Cards were looking to escape out of a jam of their own and that they did as Schure would pop the first pitch from Suzuki towards second as Yuen made the catch to keep the score at 2s after 4 complete.

With the game now tied up and both starters out of the game, Hendriks led off the top of the 5th with a check swing infield single, Rogers would draw a big 4 pitch walk behind him setting up Tong with 2 runners on and none out. With Tong being arguably one of the Cardinals’ hottest hitter lately, Yam decided not to bunt the Burnaby vet but decision would backfire as Tong would pop up the first pitch into foul ground for the first out of the inning. The very next pitch saw cleanup stick for the Cards, Lefebvre fly out to CF as suddenly the inning that had so much promise to it was dwindling away. Yuen would work a 6 pitch walk setting up active pitcher Suzuki at the plate with 2 out and the bases loaded. Tiemer would fall behind 1-0, 2-0, 3-0 and what do you know…ball 4, four straight balls to walk in the go-ahead run at the time. Maunahan would fly out to end the threat but the Cards were back on top as Suzuki was now the pitcher of record and looking for his 3rd win of the year.  Suzuki seemed to have found a groove as he worked around a Cardinal error in the bottom half of the 5th and kept it a 1 run game with 6 outs to go for the Cards.

The Cardinals offence which had been stymied by some good pitching in the past few games finally broke out, but it wasn’t without some crazy antics as always. Waters would get the 6th started with an infield base hit which then brought up pinch-hitter Nick Lamourea who had been pushed back lately with a nagging ankle injury but played a key role working a walk as a pinch hitter in the Sherwood Park game and now currently batting for Heilker, Lamourea was getting his 3rd plate appearance in the tournament. The left-handed stick of Lamourea didn’t need to do much as he watched four balls from new reliever Wright that weren’t remotely close as he improved his on-base percentage this tournament to .667 giving way to Heilker to run at 1st. Giesbrecht then came in for Duncan-Wu to execute a SAC bunt and it was a beauty as the Tri-City Bantam AA graduate would lay down a perfect one to turn the lineup over for Hendriks hitting with two runners in scoring position and 1 out. In an expected move from Lafleur, he came out and told his pitcher-catcher combo to “unintentionally intentionally” walk Hendriks by pitching everything way outside and face Rogers with the bases loaded and 1 out. Unfortunately for Cowichan, the inability to learn a proper intentional walk backfired as on the 4th pitch that was supposed to be no where near the zone, really wasn’t near the zone at all as Wright bounced the pitch scoring Waters from 3rd on the wild pitch while an errant throwback by the catcher scored Heilker too. See the errant pitch and throw that ultimately put the game away HERE. But it wasn’t over as 3 straight 2 out hits, a Tong single, Lefebvre RBI double and big Yuen 2 run double scored 3 more runs in the inning and put the game out of reach as the Cards went up 8-2.

The Cards added insult to injury by rolling their second 6-4-3 double play of the game in the bottom half of the 6th and then going on to score 5 more runs in the top half of the 7th. A Maunahan double, McRae single, Giesbrecht RBI single, Hendriks single, Rogers RBI single and all punctuated by Yuen’s second 2 run double in as many at-bats giving him 4 RBIs in the contest. When all was said and done, a 2-2 game after 4 and 3-2 game after 5 turned into a 13-2 game with 3 outs to go. Suzuki wasn’t messing around as he could smell the Cards’ second tournament win in as many tries, the aforementioned Suzuki sat the Mustangs down in order: fly out, strikeout and flyout to end it! Watch the final out HERE. - LY

 

It was definitely an anti-climactic way to end off the final but 10 runs scored in the last two innings didn’t take away how sweet the tournament victory was for the Cards. The Cardinals were playing with no lives after a 16-3 drubbing at the hands of the North Shore Twins back on day 1 of the tournament. All 14 players on the Cardinals roster rattled off 4 must-win games: a 9-1 win vs. Sherwood Park, back-to-back 1-0 victories in the quarters and semis followed by a tense battle with Cowichan for most of the game; some timely offence was all that was needed but most importantly the defence and pitching locked it down giving up just 3 runs in their final 4 games of the tournament. Now it’s back to the season grind as a 4 game weekend with Cloverdale and Kamloops is on tap and there’s no doubt that if Bantam AAA and/or Prep teams didn’t know who the Cardinals were then, they definitely know now.



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