Cardinals Pick Up 4 More Ws During Inter-Tier Weekend; Sunday sees West Coast Stun Delta Orange with 5-run 7th while Hendriks Punctuates the 4-Game Sweep with Spectacular No-Hitter vs. Ridge Meadows
Posted June 25, 2018
The West Coast Cardinals had their sights set on winning the Ridge Meadows games this past weekend running their top guys and top arms out there, it seemed like Delta Orange (despite an agreement) had a different strategy going into that weekend. In the end, it didn't matter as the Cardinals stunned the Tigers winning both games and bringing them to double digit losses on the year (5/10 losses to the West Coast Cardinals). Not forgotten was West Coast managing to defeat a well-coached and scrappy Ridge Meadows team in both games during this weekend's inter-tier matchups.
CARDINALS 0 RidgeMeadows 1
Saturday morning’s tilt with the Francis division-leading Ridge Meadows Royals had the Cards in the visiting dugout at Pitt Meadows Athletic Park. The top of their order would be baffled by tricky right-handed, submarine style starter Chapman first time through. Tong reached base with a 2-out single, but it amounted to nothing as it was sandwiched by three strikeouts in the first inning. The Royals responded in the bottom half with their most threatening inning of the ballgame, the only inning where they put more than one runner on base (they also never had a runner beyond second base in the game). A hit-by-pitch and a single would once again be sandwiched by three strikeouts, starting pitcher Yuen escaping some early trouble with no damage. Waters led off the top of the 3rd with a bang, short-hopping the relatively shallow fence in left-centre field and cruising into second base with a double. Nagatomo executed a solid sacrifice to move Waters over to third with one out, but the Cards failed to cash him in – missed opportunity #1. Then in the 4th, the Cards would put runners on first and third with one out and run themselves straight out of the inning. Lefebvre broke for second base, the throw down would be cut-off by the Royals’ shortstop and Hendriks was caught down the third base line. He would be tagged out in the rundown, and Lefebvre was tagged out prior to reaching third base on the same play, just like that the inning was over and we were still scoreless halfway through the game.
Missed opportunity #3 came in the top of the 5th, this time the Cards loading the bases with one out, thanks to a pair of hit-by-pitches and a walk. The Royals’ pitching staff was insistent on granting the Cards free base-runners in the last couple of innings, but they still couldn’t come up with that timely hit to punish them for it. Ridge would get out of jail free again, picking up the last two outs via a strikeout and a groundout. Yuen remained locked in on the mound despite his teammates not providing him with a lead, pounding the outer edge of the plate all day, exploiting the plate umpire’s generous strike zone. He ended up getting credited with the CG, allowing just three hits and striking out 13 with ease. It took the Cards until the 7th to finally break through and squeak a run across. Yuen took matters into his own hands at the dish, sending a deep flyball just over the head of the Royals’ left-fielder for a lead-off double. Suzuki was right behind him, he hit a sharp line drive right at the right-fielder for the first out, Yuen unable to advance to third on the play. That would prove meaningless as he scored from second a few pitches later, McRae delivering a clutch seeing-eye RBI single up the middle to give the Cards the only run they’d need. They were looking for more later on in the inning, eventually loading the bases with one out yet again but the Cards were unable to cash in an insurance marker. The bottom of the 7th started off shaky when the leadoff man reached on a throwing error, but Yuen would retire the next three batters and seal the 1-0 win for the Cards. It was a nervous beginning to the weekend for the Cards, but you know what they say – a win is a win. - JO
DeltaOrange 0 CARDINALS 1
The West Coast Cardinals were fresh off a win vs. Ridge Meadows in which they escaped by the skin of their teeth by scoring late in a thrilling 1-0 victory. The next game in line was against their rival, Delta Orange Tigers. In a game, that was supposed to have little to no feel or emotion to it due to agreements to throw secondary guys at each other and flip the lineup, that agreement didn’t come to fruition as Frick and his Tigers had arguably their #1 guy in Warkentin toe the rubber in this contest. Yam would go with former South Van LL and first year Wylie Waters who had a meager 7 innings pitched coming into this contest as opposed to his Delta counterpart who had more than 8x that amount. It was a surprise to most to see two totally different strategies employed by the two managers but nevertheless turned into a very entertaining and eventually emotional ballgame after all.
With that being said, Waters now had the unenviable task of trying to neutralize a offensively talented Tigers’ lineup in his second start ever at the Bantam AAA level. The 2022 grad from Vancouver Minor was able to work around a 2-out single from McCarthy to retire the side in 13 pitches. With Yam’s lineup flipped, McRae Giesbrecht Nagatomo were the first three due up in the offensive 1st as Warkentin would erase a free pass to the Cardinals’ 2-hitter with a 4-6-3 double play keeping it zeros for both teams after 1.
West Coast would respond by turning a double play of their own, Waters to Hendriks to Lamourea (1-6-3) erasing Cassie’s leadoff single. 6 of the next 7 outs recorded by Warkentin on the mound were via. strikeout as Frick’s ace looked to have settled in quite nicely. 0-0 after 3 innings. The Tigers top of the order was due up in the 4th and the lineup was now getting a second look at Waters on the mound who features a relatively sneaky fastball that gets on hitters complimenting that with an effective curveball. Thomas and Spencer still hadn’t figured Waters out yet as the top 2 in Delta’s lineup with groundout and strikeout respectively. McCarthy would reach 2nd on a 2-out error by the Cardinal left fielder setting up the dangerous Warkentin with 2 outs and a runner in scoring position. Waters didn’t seem fazed as Warkentin would weakly groundout to Waters on the mound who made an ill-advised decision to go home with it despite there being 2 outs, the Cardinals would execute the rundown either way as Maunahan would dive and tag McCarthy before he could reach the plate.
We now jump to the 5th where the score is still deadlocked at zeros and Warkentin and Waters are both rolling. #12 in red rocking the stirrups would get retire the Tigers, who were sporting the orange strirrups with navy blue tube socks in order giving the West Coast the chance to take the lead in the bottom half of the 5th. With 1-out the 5-6-7 hitters for West Coast seemed to have finally figured something out against Warkentin as back-to-back-to-back singles moved everyone from station to station setting up bases loaded for the pitcher, Wylie Waters. Waters would smash a ball straight back where it came from but his counterpart would stick his glove and snag the sure single up the middle rolling the game’s biggest double play 1-2-3 to escape the jam. Yam would look at Warkentin’s direction puzzled and say “You caught that?” with Warkentin looking back and nodding with his signature grin. 0-0 after 5 innings.
Waters looked to have another weak groundout to start off the inning as Bach would hit an 0-2 curveball to Hendriks at SS who charged and threw over to 1, with Lamourea set to throw it “around the horn” on the 6-3 putout the base umpire would emphatically signal “SAFE!”. Mr. Blue on the bases was not having a great day as it stemmed back to a subpar job on the plate a game ago, this call definitely blown and the go-ahead run was now on first with none out. Waters who was still at a very efficient pitch count didn’t stumble as he would strike out the next two Tiger hitters. However, the top of the order for Delta was now due up in the form of Noah Thomas, the aforementioned Thomas would hit a hard ball towards Maunahan’s left at 3B who dove and throw over to one but Thomas would barely beat out this throw setting up 1st and 2nd and 2 out. With Tong, Yuen, Lefebvre and Suzuki all getting the rest of the day off, McRae was patrolling CF in Tong’s place and the all lefty first-year who already had a big day by racking up the game-winning RBI vs. Ridge a game ago, here would record the final out of the top of the 6th as Waters got Spencer to fly out setting up a pivotal bottom of the 6th.
West Coast’s usual 1-2 hitters were hitting 9-10 today and the two regulars in Rogers and Hendriks (who didn’t get the day off) would come up big to kickstart the offensive 6th for the Cards. Rogers would hit a hard grounder up the middle past Wilson at 2B. During Hendriks’ at-bat, Rogers would advance to 2nd on a pass ball and then to 3rd on a wild pitch, things were starting to look very reminiscent of how West Coast scored their only run against these same Delta Tigers at the Richmond May Long Tournament Quarter-Final (Rogers advanced two bases on pitches that got away from the Delta catcher, then scored on a groundout). This time, Hendriks would put together one of his finest at-bats, #38 fell behind 0-2 in the count, would be able to hold up on 2 check-swing breaking balls then work the walk setting up runners on the corners and none out. McRae was now up and the scrappy Coquitlam-resident would chop a ball to short as the contact play was on, Rogers would head first slide into home as Thomas would come up throwing from the chopper, although his throw was high Bach (Delta’s catcher) would bring it down and although Rogers appeared safe, he was called out at the plate as it was deemed Bach’s tag just got him in time. With 1 out and the runners on the corners for Giesbrecht, #9 for the Cardinals would rack up his 14th RBI on the year as “Mr. Automatic” as they call him would get Hendriks home on a perfectly executed squeeze giving West Coast a 1-0 lead. Giesbrecht would be thrown out at 1st on the SAC bunt but fist pump past first base and be mobbed by his teammates at the entrance of the dugout.
Waters came back out for the 7th, Duncan-Wu was now getting warm in the bullpen as Yam knew the first-year from Vancouver was getting fatigued as pitches were starting to lose velocity and stay up in the zone. Waters would get McCarthy to fly out for the first out of the inning but Warkentin would connect on a 2-0 pitch that was driven hard off the left-field fence for a double. Cassie would be hit by the pitch putting the winning-run now on 1st. Yam would come out to the mound to applaud Waters of his formidable effort on the bump as he would now go to Duncan-Wu to try and strand the inherited runners. It didn’t start off great as Duncan-Wu would turf a fastball that got through Nagatomo and put the tying run just 80’ away (winning-run now in scoring position) with 1 out. With a 2-1 count on lefty-stick Morrison, Frick would put on his signature suicide squeeze (one that got him past Richmond in the 2016 provincial semi-final) but Nagatomo and Duncan-Wu would team up to execute a pitchout and back-door Warkentin at 3rd for a huge 2nd out. Later in the Morrison at-bat, Duncan-Wu and Hendriks would team up to execute a perfect pickoff to 2nd trying to get Noah Cassie, the throw was there, the tag was there but yet again he was somehow called “safe”. Click HERE to see the pickoff, you be the judge. After a walk to Morrison, Duncan-Wu would retire Tanton McNeil on a line out to right securing the ball game and the 1-0 victory over the Tigers.
Waters was up to the task today as in his second start ever as a West Coast Cardinals he would throw almost s many innings in this game as he did all year leading up to this contest. A 6 1/3 IP 5H 0BB 4K performance with Duncan-Wu picking up his 3rd save of the season. A big victory for the West Coast Cardinals who were able to sit majority of their regulars and come out with a win against one of the top arms in Bantam AAA on the mound. Who would have known? - LY
CARDINALS 5 DeltaOrange 4
The Cardinals went into this game with the same strategy, this time sending yesterday’s game-winning RBI hero on the mound in Jake Giesbrecht. The 5’4 right-hander from Coquitlam had a lofty number of 0 innings on the mound for West Coast coming into this one and was getting his first taste of what it was like to pitch at the Bantam AAA level today. After politely asking the coaching staff countless times if he could pitch, the coaching staff finally gave in and the aforementioned Giesbrecht finally got to live out his dream…against the Bantam AAA team that has scored 240 runs in 26 league games. Frick as expected wasn’t playing along with his rivals’ strategy once again and decided to run his top guns out on the battlefield and send the second of his three headed monster to toe the rubber in Noah Thomas. So there we have it, an “ace-off” between Thomas and Giesbrecht.
Evan McRae, the other game-winning RBI hero from yesterday got things started for the Cards as the leadoff hitter (for the 2nd straight game in a row) ripped a line drive into left field for the first baserunner and hit of the game. Thomas would work around that leadoff single to strand two runners and on cue was Giesbrecht making his first trot out to the mound this year. The kid had no fear as he flipped in a first pitch knuckleball to his counterpart (Thomas), called for a strike! He would get Thomas to fly out to left fielder Evan McRae for the first out of the inning, McCarthy would hit a bleeder into left for the first hit and baserunner for the Tigers but Giesbrecht didn’t seem fazed as Warkentin would pop up for the 2nd out of the inning followed by a CS of McCarthy at 2, courtesy of a bang-on throw by Nagatomo from behind the plate. So there it is, the first inning in the books for the 2021 grad from Coquitlam, but the inning was so good he was back out there in the 2nd.
Unfortunately, things were a little less smooth this time around as Cassie rudely pooped on the Giesbrecht parade with a hard double, 2 straight hits and a sac fly followed the double scoring 1 run as Giesbrecht was pulled in his shortest (and longest) outing of the year. 2 runners were still in scoring position when Duncan-Wu took over mound duties for Giesbrecht but unlike yesterday Duncan-Wu wasn't able to strand the inherited runners as a groundout and wild pitch would score two more as the book was now closed on Giesbrecht. 1 1/3 IP 4H 3R 3ER , #9 wearing the white West Coast jersey will look to improve on the 15.75 ERA his next time out…sometime in the near future.
Game-wise nothing really was exciting after that as Thomas got in a groove spotting his fastball and inducing weak contact against West Coast’s lineup. With Yuen, Rogers, Hendriks and Waters sitting this one out, the most exhilarating action for them during the middle parts of the game was a highly contested tic-tac-toe game between Delta and West Coast drawn on the face of a baseball that was thrown back and forth between both dugouts throughout the entirety of this contest. In the bottom of the 6th, Lefebvre came out to relieve Duncan-Wu who was effective in his 45 pitch outing going 3 2/3 IP allowing 0 ER with 8 K’s. Lefebvre’s first batter was Noah Cassie who would get a hold of Lefebvre’s fastball driving it to deep left. With a steak dinner on the line if he got a triple, Frick sent Cassie to 3 but a beautiful relay from McRae to Maunahan to Heilker nabbed Cassie at 3 by a country mile as the leadoff hitter was retired…this would be one of the biggest regrets for Frick as he would eventually find out. Delta would score one run in that 6th inning, making it 4-0 Tigers after 6 innings.
With assistant coach, Ahn already gone to grab lunch for the coaching staff, the West Coast smokies were also getting grilled up and everyone just about ready for lunch, the Cardinal lineup wasn’t planning on giving away any at-bats. Down 4 with 2 outs to go, Lamourea ripped his second hit of the game into left field, putting Thomas in the stretch something the Delta second-year hadn’t gotten used to for most of the game. Heilker followed the Lamourea single up with a single of his own this one landing on the left-field line. The very next pitch was hit hard down the right field line courtesy of Alex Duncan-Wu who scored Lamourea and moved Heilker to 3rd on the RBI double. Before anyone could blink (or eat lunch) the tying run was now standing at the plate in the form of Matthew Maunahan with still 2 outs to go. Maunahan would come up big as he singled up the middle, scoring both runners and advancing to 2 on a throw from the outfield that should have been cut off by the Tiger defence. The tying run was now in scoring position for Suzuki. Suzuki would beat out an infield single making it 5 straight hits of Thomas and runners on the corners. With Tong at the plate, Maunahan would break for home during the AB on a ball that got past Bach (Delta's catcher) and just like that the game was now tied, Suzuki (go-ahead run) now standing at 3rd; Tong would pop up for the 2nd out of the inning. Suzuki was just itching to come home to take the lead but things looked bleak as Lefebvre quickly fell behind 1-2 in the count. Lefebvre still had a chip on his shoulder after being snubbed from a couple of this year's select teams, the usual clean-up stick (batting 10th in this contest) would read the breaking ball out of Thomas’ hand and drive a single up the gut past a diving Morrison at SS bringing Suzuki home as Lefebvre was now the pitcher of record. Watch the big go-ahead RBI from Lefebvre HERE. What an inning, 5-4 Cards going into bottom 7!
Suzuki after plating the go-ahead run would quickly make his way to the bullpen to warm up as Yam sent Lefebvre back to mound to start the bottom of the 7th. Frick had the contact machine Taiyo Boily leading off the inning in place of Sam Sarkissian. Boily would work a 6 pitch walk as Yam would now turn to Suzuki to try and finish off the ballgame. Boily didn’t have to do much as Suzuki would overshoot first base on a pickoff putting the tying run into scoring position. With a 2-2 count on Thomas and none out, Thomas would rip a ball through the wickets of Maunahan at 3rd, with Lefebvre playing deep LF, everyone was expecting Boily to score easily but Frick held Boily up at 3rd as Thomas would move up to 2nd on the throw home which was way off line, this would be the second of two regrets by Frick in this contest. Southpaw Suzuki was now facing lefty-hitter Ryan McCarthy who he would get to line out to Hendriks at SS for a huge 1st out. With Warkentin up, Yam wasn’t going to let the two best friends square off as Suzuki would intentionally walk the potent bat of Boston Warkentin loading the bases with 1 out and Cassie now due up who already had 2 doubles in the game. Suzuki would get Cassie out front on two curveballs then blow the high heat past him for a massive 2nd out. Watch the strikeout HERE. With the bases loaded and Delta now down to their last out, Suzuki would once again get the better of Delta’s lineup as he would get Spencer to pop up weakly capping off a unbelievable finish and ending to a game that had little to no life to it.
Hats off to the West Coast lineup that were without most of their regulars, the lineup and pitching staff for these two games against Delta Orange, the boys from Vancouver/Coquitlam played great and definitely stunned a Delta team that went all out to win a couple of “meaningful” games. Duncan-Wu was instrumental in the win throwing 3 2/3 of scoreless ball striking out 8 to keep West Coast within striking distance. Lamourea had 2 hits today and kickstarted the massive 7th inning comeback while Maunahan and Lefebvre both had a clutch RBI hits up the middle, the latter with the win on the mound and game-winning RBI. - LY
RidgeMeadows 1 CARDINALS 5
Seeking the 4-game inter-tier weekend sweep, the Cards sent Hendriks to the mound on a breezy late afternoon at Hammond Stadium. Both teams got off to a sloppy start in the top of the 1st. Ridge’s leadoff hitter would draw a walk and promptly be picked off first base, tagged out following a brief rundown. The next batter reached on a lazy throwing error by the Cards’ second baseman, which let the batter Squires move up to second base on the play. Hendriks would then snag a high chopper back at him and catch Squires in no-man’s land between second and third, eventually tagging him out sliding into third for out #2, and struck out the Ridge clean-up hitter for the final out. Another error would prove to be more costly for the Royals in the bottom of the 1st. With runners at second and third with one out, Lefebvre skied one high near the second base bag that got caught in the swirling wind and came down and hit off the shortstop’s glove, granting Lefebvre a virtual free pass. No runners were able to move up on the play, so the bases were now loaded for Yuen, and he gave the Cards the lead with a sacrifice fly to right field. MILESTONE ALERT: The Cards would tack on another in the 3rd, the rally starting with Tong’s historic 31st walk of the season, giving him sole possession of the West Coast Cardinals walks record, leap-frogging the all-time great legend Scotty "picking machine" Miles! Lefebvre and Yuen would both find holes through the infield and bring Tong around to score, 2-0 Cards after three complete.
The Royals got that run right back in the top of the 4th. Blatchford worked his second consecutive walk for Ridge, advancing to second on a sacrifice bunt soon afterwards. He then sprinted for third on a 6-3 putout, the throw back across the diamond to third wasn't a good one as it bounced into foul territory with nobody backing it up. It was the Royals’ first and only run scored against the Cards this weekend and it was an unearned run. The Cards were still far from in the clear in this one. They had at least one runner in scoring position in every inning, but were still searching for that big blast to create some separation on the scoreboard. With two out and runners at second and third, Suzuki slapped a letter-high fastball directly over the centre-fielder’s head for a 2RBI double, providing some instant cushion that the Cards hadn’t had all weekend. They made it 5-1 in the 6th, as McRae and Rogers teamed up and delivered back-to-back two-out singles.
Now all eyes were on Hendriks, who had quietly carried a no-hitter into the 7th. Third time was a charm facing Blatchford, getting him to fly out to right field for the first out. Squires would be the one to walk, but the next two batters were retired on a groundout and a backwards K to wrap it up – a no-hitter for the second-year vet Cody Hendriks! 7 IP, 0 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 7 K – that’s what was transcribed on the game ball that Hendriks scooped up after recording the final out. What wasn’t included on the ball was a big-time groundball putout in RF (9-3) in the top of the 5th to keep the dream alive – he’s got fellow veteran Suzuki to thank for that. It was an exciting conclusion to a successful weekend for the Cards, 5-1 was the final in game 4. - JO