Sunday....Glencoe goes to state with 8-5 win over YA. YA drew first blood when Franck doubled home Aretz in the first. But Glencoe tied it up with a double steal, 1 runner taking 2nd base and the other going from third to home on the throw. Later, Ford drops one down the oppo line to put Crew up 1 run.
The story for YA was not being able to get the clutch hit, leaving runners in scoring position all day. After Francks 1st inning double, YA popped up to the infield with 2nd and 3rd and 2 out. Franck then failed to get Aretz home with him on 3rd and 2 out. Later, another popup to the infield with 2nd and 3rd and 2 out.
Glencoe added a 3rd run and a Beringer homer put Crew up 3. YA wasn't done and added 2 in the bottom of the 8th, until one of those popups killed the rally. And in the top of 9, the Crew smelt the win and went for the kill and scored 4 runs, everything taking place after the Cards got the 1st 2 outs of the inning.
So with Crew up 5 in the 9th, YA mounted a gallant charge but was only able to score 2 and ended up losing 8-5.
YA now plays Winsted again on Saturday Aug 15th at 4pm in Glencoe. Winner goes to state, loser goes home!
YA got a gutty 8 innings from Socko as he battled the strong Wildcat line up and the suffocating humdity, allowing only 2 runs to pick up the win on Saturday.
YA got to Kley the 2nd time thru the order, as Brandon Stender delivered a single to put the first run of the game on the board for YA in the 4th, to tie the game at one, after Winsted scored 1 run in the first on a Marc Kohler single.
In the 3rd, Panning walked then Franck doubled. Chet Maschke grounded to third and Winsted got the runner out going home. After a 2 out infield single from Burt, Franck scored with based loaded on a pass ball to give YA the lead. Little Adam Ernst followed that with a huge 2 run double, giving YA the cushion they needed.
YA continued to get to Kley, with a bunch of runners on base for a good majority of the time, knocking him out in the 7th.
Game 2 – YA 7, Hamburg 5
After Hamburg swept the regular season matchup with Young America, the Cardinals returned the favor, sweeping the Hawks out of the playoffs in two games and ending their season. YA took the second game rather convincingly, just like game one, as they held a 7-1 lead for most of the game. The Cardinals never trailed in this series. In both games, they got a nice lead on the Hawks, then finished them off with a late rally. In this game, a five run sixth would prove to put the Hawks in the rearview mirror of the Cardinals.
Captain of the Cardinals, catcher Brandon Stender got YA on the board in the third, when he knocked Adam Ernst around the bases from first with a double to the gap.
Then in the fourth, Nik Franck doubled to lead off the inning and scored on a wild pitch, after Chet Maschke moved him to third with a single.
In the bottom of the fourth, Hamburg scored their first run, to draw the YA lead back to one.
Then the Cardinals broke it open in the sixth. Franck led off the inning with another double. After another Maschke single, Bobby Kraemer bunted for a hit. Eric Ernst followed with an RBI single and Jon Werner flied out to deep center to drive in another. Stender dropped a double just on the right field line to plate the third run of the inning and Eric Panning stuck the fork in the Hawks with a two RBI single.
Troy Kohls (4-1, 1 save) was handed the ball for the Cardinals and he responded with a very good outing, and pitching with a six run lead definitely helped matters. Kohls settled into a nice grove, staying out of harm’s way for a good majority of the night. Finally the Hamburg bats solved him in the eighth, with three consecutive singles, and Mgr. Kevy Kohls was forced to pull the hook on his starter, with a 7-2 lead. Franck came in, got a strikeout and provoked a sweet double play ball, thanks to SS Werner’s sprawling play making a throw from his backside, to end the inning.
The Hawks made a valiant attempt to come back, driving home three runs in the bottom of the ninth. But all was for not as Maschke secured the last out on a high pop fly to left, sending the Cardinals to Regions and the Hawks back to civilian life.
Game 1 - YA 9, Hawks 1
Town team ball seems to be on the mind of folks in the area again, as a big crowd enjoyed the YA Cardinals beating up on the Hamburg Hawks in game one of their best of three series. This followed a Cologne vs. Hamburg round one series, which was more highly attended than any other in recent memory. Whatever the case, it makes for a great atmosphere and all players involved thanks the fans for their support. Now to the game!
The story before the game was that of two. The first, YA’s unfathomable ability to somehow take a win from Hamburg, as the Hawks have taken 5 straight wins from YA, all by one run. The other was the beat up Hamburg pitching rotation, as they lost one pitcher to injury in round one and another with rumors of arm troubles. But the story of the game was Cardinal starter Tony Burt, who was one out away from throwing a donut up against Hamburg, if not for a ninth inning walk, a Matt Schwichtenberg double and an error.
YA put one on the board early, and that seemed to be a little bit of a punch to the gut to Hamburg. But Hawk starter Darren Greene began to find his groove and Burt allowed nary a Hawk runner, and the game was deadlocked through the first half of the game with YA up 1-0.
Later in the fifth, Clint Aretz continued his barrage on town team pitching as he unloaded a no doubt, two run homer to put the Cardinals up three. That blast gave both the team and his pitcher a little room to breathe, as Burt then settled into a groove and sent confused Hawk hitter back to the bench unsuccessful, time and time again.
In the eighth, YA sealed the deal for good, with a one out hit parade. The scoring in the eighth started with a bloop single from Franck, and was followed up by seven more consecutive hits from his teammates, including RBI doubles delivered by Eric Ernst and Aretz again. Hamburg finally recorded the last two outs of the inning, but not before six runs crossed the plate.
Henderson vs YA
The Cardinals welcomes the Henderson Tigers to town for a non-league matchup last Thursday, which was the third time this year that Henderson played at Wilkommen Field. They previously had beaten Cologne and Plato at the Cardinals home park, so the YA nine knew they couldn’t sluff off in this one.
But it was Henderson getting off to a hot start in the first inning, plating two runs thanks to three hits and a Cardinal error, then another run in the third.
YA was able to come back, thanks again to the big bat of Clint Aretz, who provided fireworks again for the Cardinals with a mammoth three run homer, leading to a four run fourth inning, as YA claimed the lead 6-3.
Starting pitcher for YA, Jon Werner, despite early shakiness, settled into a groove from that point on and held the Tigers scoreless for the final six innings, including setting down the final twelve batters faced.
Adam Ernst, who has been hotter than a pistol as of late, led the Redbirds offense to an 8-3 win, with three hits and an RBI.
YA at Cologne
JP Schwartz got his first win of the year for YA tossing five scoreless to propel his team to a 4-3 nail-biter win in Cologne on Sunday. This was the final regular season contest for both teams as YA finished the year with a 11-7 record, holding the #2 seed and earning a round one by in the playoffs. Cologne finished with their best record in many years, 5-13. Still only good enough for the #6 seed and a Tuesday matchup with Hamburg at Hamburg in the first round of the playoffs.
The Cardinals chipped away for a couple of early runs, scoring one in the second inning thanks to three consecutive hits. Then a second run in the third when Eric Panning delivered an RBI with a double in the gap. Single runs in the fifth and eighth innings provided just enough insurance for the Cardinals pitching staff.
Cologne was able to mount a couple rallies to cause the heart beat of coach Kevy Kohls to increase another few beats per minute, but reliever Troy Kohls was just good enough to get out of Cologne with a four inning save, sealing the one run win.
During their round one bye, the Cardinals have added a game to their schedule. They will be hosting the Howard Lake Orphans, the top team in the North Star League West division. The Orphans hold a 14-5 league record and are consistent participants in the State Tournament nearly every year. The game will be played on Thursday June 23rd at Wilkommen Park.
Alumni Game (Friday)
In a very spirited and fun filled atmosphere, the current YA Cardinal baseball team hosted Cardinals from earlier era’s in their 1st ever alumni game. The current Cardinals beat the Legends team 18-9, but the score wasn’t of much concern in this game. This game was more like a family reunion than a baseball contest, as friends battled friends and family members fought for bragging rights throughout the evening.
In front of a capacity crowd, fans saw Joel Stender double down the line off his father Bob “Newby” Stender. Nik Franck singled home a run off his uncle Rick Franck.
But the old guys had their moments too. Danny “Meat” Storms, the 2nd batter of the game for the Legends got their first hit. Mark Worm threw a 1-2-3 1st inning and later in the game as a catcher, picked runner Troy Kohls off first base with a snap throw.
Later in the game and down by a hefty 12-0 margin in the 8th inning, the Legends made their charge. A nine run inning got the current Cardinals shaking in their boots a little bit. Consecutive singles by Newby Stender, Mike Miller and Chuck Monroe put their 1st run on the board. A few more hits by Terry “Tiger” Zellmann, Lenny Lehrke and Jeff “Twiggy” Kroells, among others, and soon the lead was cut to three. However, the current Cardinals retaliated with six in the top of the 9th to put the score out of reach once again.
But probably the best and most fitting image from the night was when Tim “Barney” Zellman, the fireball pitcher who played for most of the 80’s and early 90’s, beaned the first two batters he faced, almost drilled the next two and still got out of the inning relatively unscaved. Any of you who followed the team during those years knew this to be a very familiar sight.
Merchant’s Day Game (Saturday)
After hosting a capacity crowd on Friday night, the grass around Wilkommen field didn’t get much rest as the YA Cardinals hosted the Norwood Indians in front of another capacity crowd on Saturday afternoon, playing their annual Merchants Day game.
YA was looking for revenge to appease a loss to Norwood earlier in the season and Clint Aretz led the charge. In the 3rd, Aretz put YA on the board when he looped a moonshot into the tree beyond the left-center fence, a grand slam that put YA up four. Nik Franck followed him up with a solo shot into the same tree two batters later.
Norwood would not be held silent as they fought back into the game with two homers of their own. Justin Loehrs hit an in-the-park, two run homer after his line drive skipped past the glove of YA’s diving centerfielder. Two innings later, Nolan Braun dropped a three run dinger over the left field fence to tie it up.
YA used some Indian miscues, namely wild pitches, to score a couple in the 6th, taking 7-5 lead. From there, the Cardinals didn’t look back. They scored five more runs over the final two frames, taking advantage of more Indian errors and their lack of pitching depth.
Troy Kohls got the win for YA, battling through a multitude of Indian wannabe rallies and not having his good stuff for most of the game. Adam Kostecka pitched the final two innings of relief to nab the save. Aretz finished the game with a homer, a double and 6 RBI’s.
In the end of the game, YA finished the game with a 12-6 win and split the season series with Norwood. YA moved into 2nd place in the Crow River South with the win, meaning a win vs Plato on Sunday and a Hamburg Hawk loss on Sunday gives YA the 2nd seed for the playoffs.
White Squirrel Days in Plato
Plato hosted the Cardinals on Sunday, during their White Squirrel Days celebration, and it was YA that ended up running around the bases like a bunch of squirrels, winning the game 11-0 in a shortened eight inning game.
Playing what seemed to be a rather uninspired Plato squad, it was to YA’s credit that they jumped all over the BlueJays, early and often. The Cardinals used a seven run 2nd inning to drop the spirits of the BlueJays. That inning highlighted by two hits apiece from Eric Panning and Nik Franck, as well as a two run double by Eric Ernst.
After that, a bunch of goose eggs were thrown on the board by both pitchers, as BlueJay starter Cody Harms settled into a rhythm and Cardinal starter Nik Franck found ways to battle out of early inning jams.
A little charge put forth by the Cardinals off of BlueJay reliever Tyler Lang led to an additional three runs, and that rally put the game in to ten run status as Franck finished off his shutout. The first shutout of the year for the team by a pitcher not named Troy Kohls (2 shutouts).
That win, combined with a 7-2 Winsted win over Hamburg, clinched the 2nd seed of the playoffs for YA, giving them a 1st round bye. Brownton clinched the #1 seed long ago, as they sit atop the South with a 13-4 record. YA holds onto a 10-7 record, with 1 game to go. The battle for the 3, 4 and 5 seeds are still up in the air. Hamburg is at 8-9, with a game left against Brownton. Carver sits at 7-9 and has games with Cologne and Norwood left. If Carver ties with Hamburg, they would claim the higher seed, because of tiebreakers. Norwood holds a 7-8 record, with games against a hot Winsted team and Carver this week. Norwood holds the tiebreaker over Hamburg, but not Carver. Obviously, the Hamburg at Brownton and Norwood at Carver games on Sunday June 12th, holds plenty of playoff implications. Cologne is granted the 6th seed already, with a 4-12 record with 2 games left, which is their best in quite a few years.
Brownton at YA
Brownton's top of the order killed YA and they made the plays when it counted, as they took home the win over YA on Sunday, 7-4.
The loss was a very frusterating game for YA, as they left many scoring chances on the bases throughout the day. Brownton was able to pile up and early 6-0 lead, thanks to a couple of homers and some back to back doubles in the 5th, and were smacking the ball around pretty good for a good portion of the game. But the Cardinals were not without their opportunties.
YA missed a chance to tie the game at 1 in the first, when a baserunner got struck by a hit ball, wiping out the run that would have scored. Then in the 2nd, a runner on third got thrown out at home, when he attemped to tag up on a shallow pop up. Later, with the game 6-3 and YA rallying, a bases-clearing and game tying double was wiped out when the Bruins' right fielder did his best immitaion of Superman, but leaving the ground for a rediculous diving grab, which resulted in only 1 run scoring on the play, instead of 3.
Even though YA lost by 3, the game could have went a couple of different way as Brownton was able to capitalize on some of their breaks, when the Cardinals couldn't.
The loss dropped YA to 3-1 in league play.
YA plays 2 games this upcoming week. Hosting Cologne on Wednesday at 7:30 and then traveling to Buffalo for a non-league contest on Thursday before hosting Green Isle at 5pm on Memorial Day.
YA at New Germany
YA jumped on the Dutchmen early and often, and then some more on Saturday, with a lopsided 17-4 win.
The Cardinals built up a 5-0 lead in the 3rd already, when New Germany was able to mount a comeback to make it a 2 run game, using a missed popup and a couple of hits to get there. But YA kept on getting on the bases and scoring runs racking up a 11-4 lead by the time they reached the 9th inning. That is when YA, who had been slumbering for a few innings, unexpectedly broke the game wide open with a 5 run, 2 out rally that included a pair of home runs.
Adam Kostecka started and got the win for YA on the day, but the story was the offense. The Cardinals got 4 home runs on the day, from Jon Werner, Mitch Lang, Brandon Stender and Nik Franck. Mitch Lang was raking the ball all day, going 4 for 5 on the day, while Stender and Franck added 3 hits a piece.
YA at Glencoe
YA scored 2 in the first and the game seemed to be theirs the rest of the way, as Tony Burt completely shutdown the Brewers offensive attack, and YA won 4-0.
The Cardinals first 2 hitters jumped on Brewers pitcher Keith Trudell right away, as Chet Maschke led off with a hard single and Brandon Stender followed with a double over the leftfielders head. Maschke then scored from third on wild pitch, and Stender was knocked in when Eric Panning grounded out to short.
The game turned into a pitchers duel throughout the next 3 innings, as both Trudell and Burt made quick work of the opposing hitters. But YA chipped away in the 5th with another run. Bobby Kraemer led off the inning with a single, he was followed by a single from Maschke and drove home on anther single, this time from Stender.
All the while, Burt breezed through the Brewer lineup, putting the side down in order in 4 of the 7 innings he pitched.
YA added 1 more insurance run in the 7th, when Adam Kostecka, who reached via single, was singled home by the hot bat of Maschke.
Burt finished the game throwing 7 innings, making very easy work of the Brewers lineup, allowing 5 hits and striking out 6. He was followed by Nik Franck, who also mowed through the last 2 innings, striking out 4 Glencoe batters. Between the 2 of them, not a Brewer runner was allowed past 2nd base on the afternoon.
Maschke led the offense with 3 hits, 1 run and 1 rbi. Brandon Stender finished with 2 hits, 1 run and an rbi. Kostecka also chipped in with a couple hits.
YA will play 2 games this upcoming weekend, being hosted by New Germany on Saturday the 16th at 4pm. Then YA will finally have a home game, playing Brownton at Wilkommen Park on the following Sunday at 4pm.
YA at St Boni
The Cardinals jumped out to a 10-0 lead thru the 1st three innings, then put it in cruise control from there, and Troy Kohls nearly threw a no-hitter, in YA's season opener, a 11-0 win in St Boni.
As said in last weeks article, the Cardinals lost a bit of offense this offseason, but they jumped on the Saints early and often on Sunday scoring ten of their eleven runs in the first three innings.
Nik Franck started the fire with a two run dinger on his first swing of the year in the first, driving home Chet Maschke after reaching back via double. Eric Panning followed with a single, made his way around the bases thanks to multiple wild pitches and scored on a pitchers error, putting YA up three to none before starting pitcher Kohls even strided to the hill.
Tony Burt led off the 2nd with his first hit as a Cardinal in 2 years, a solo shot over the right field wall and into the car dealership across the road, also his first swing of the year. Kohls followed with a single, made his way to third by Saints fielding miscues, then was singled home by a Maschke.
The Cardinals drove in five more in the third, thanks to an rbi single from Kohls, an rbi double from Franck and a two-rbi single from Panning.
YA added insurance in the 7th, when Panning singled home Maschke for their 11th run.
All the while, Kohls pitched masterfully on the mound, completing a one hit, seven inning performance. That one hit being an infield popup that wasn't caught only because of Mr. Sun getting in the eyes of Mr. Shortstop. Otherwise, we'd be talking a no-hitter for Troy Kohls.
Kohls finished the game, throwing all 7 required innings, striking out 12 and throwing only 61 pitches.
At the dish, Panning led the way with 3 hits and 3 rbis. Franck had 2 hits and 3 rbis. Maschke, Burt and Kohls each chipped in with 2 hits and 1 rbi.
YA will play 2 more road games this weekend, playing Saturday at Arlington vs Hager City, WI for a 5pm contest, then traveling to Glencoe for a league battle at 4pm on Sunday. Then they will travel once more to New Germany on Sat, May 16th, before hosting their home opener against the team that knocked them out of the playoffs last year, Brownton, on Sunday May 17th at 4pm.