A combination of good hitting by Cardington and poor defense by Mount Gilead led the Pirates to a 16-3 baseball win on the MG field Wednesday.
Cardington scored in each of the game’s seven innings, as they took an early lead and never relinquished it in picking up the win.
“The bats were working,” said Pirate coach Nathan Strome. “We had a lot of hits and were being aggressive on the basepaths like we like.”
In the other dugout, Indian coach Greg Gompf simply felt his team didn’t do well in the field behind his pitchers. According to his stats, only six of Cardington’s 16 runs were earned.
“We ask our kids to throw strikes and when you commit 10 errors, that doesn’t work out for you,” he said. “The hardest thing for a pitcher to do on the mound is give six or seven outs an inning and be successful.”
Instead, the success on this evening went to the Pirates, who tallied two quick runs in the opening inning and then added two in the second when Devin Jackson led off with a double and a bunt single by Nate Craig put runners on the corner. A balk by pitcher Alex Coder brought in one run and a single by Dylan Etgan brought another across the plate to make it 4-0.
The Pirates added a run in the top of the third, as Devin Pearl led off with a triple and Clayton Clark cracked a two-base hit to drive him in. Meanwhile, the Indians had two runners on in each of the first two innings, including having them on first and third with only one out in the second, but had been unable to get on the scoreboard.
“We had some scoring chances early and didn’t capitalize,” said Gompf.
However, they would finally take advantage of an opportunity in the third. Coder opened the inning with a single and was able to steal second. With two outs, Evan Edwards drove him in with a single off Nico Wade, the second of three Pirate pitchers to take the mound. Anthony Clark then hit a ground ball that scored Edwards after a Pirate throwing error, making it 5-2.
MG would not be able to get any closer, though. Cardington got three runs in the top of the fourth. Etgen drew a walk and, after a fly ball by Daniel Kill was dropped, there were runners on first and second. Pearl drove in one with a double, an errant pitch got another runner across home plate and a sacrifice fly by Clark made the score 8-2.
Kill added two more runs in the fifth with a two-out single and Pearl added the team’s 11th run in the sixth when a long drive turned into him taking all four bases to thrill the Pirate faithful.
“We like to keep them off-balance,” said Strome of his team’s aggressive base-running. “We’re really playing hard. We struggled with that the last few games, but I think we figured that out. I love it when we have guys working hard like that. I don’t have to do a lot of coaching.”
An RBI single by Isaac George brought MG within an 11-3 margin in the bottom half of the sixth, but Cardington tallied a five-run seventh and Mac Warren closed out the afternoon by pitching a scoreless bottom of that inning to close out the game. Wade picked up the win for Cardington in relief of Garrett Wagner. Strome noted that with the new pitch count rules, it pays to have a deep staff.
“Our pitching was good,” he said. “With the pitch count rule, you have to use a lot of guys. They did good and were throwing strikes.”
After the game, all Gompf could do was hope the next game worked out better for his charges. “We’ll take the day off tomorrow and clear our minds and get back at it Friday,” he said. “We have East Knox, which will be a tough one.”
For Cardington, Strome hopes that getting a big road win over a county rival can propel his team back into the thick of things in the league race. The Pirates were 4-4 in Blue Division play after the win, while league-leading East Knox boasts an 8-1 record.
“The league is tight this year,” he said. “No one has completely stood out, so it’s good we got one on the road.”
Rob Hamilton can be reached at 419-946-3010, ext. 1807. Connect with him on Twitter at @SportsMCS