In a pitching duel where scoring opportunities were few and far between, Cardington coach Jack Bault thought the game could have turned out differently if his team had better luck in tallying runs off their chances.
Cardington was held to one run on four hits, but came up empty in the first and sixth innings when they had runners in scoring position.
“The same thing happened yesterday,” he said. “We had the bases loaded and couldn’t get a hit. I told them that in the tournament, we’ll be in those kinds of close games and will need someone to get that big hit. Right now, we’re seeing teams where we want to be at. When Fredericktown gets guys on base, they find ways to get them in.”
Case in point: the first inning. The Freddies got to Pirate pitcher Nico Wade early on, as Nick Cunningham led off with a single and a double by Caleb Sheriff put runners on second and third. Wade then walked Clem Cunningham to load them up with nobody out.
Wade got a ground ball for a run-scoring double play from Zach Vogelsang to make it look like he’d get out of the inning with only run surrendered, but Ty Hatfield followed with an RBI single to stake the Freddies to a 2-0 lead.
Cardington had a chance to respond in the first. After Clem Cunningham retired the first two Pirates, Wade and Kolton Honeter both reached on Freddie errors and Trey Brininger reached on an infield single to load the bases. However, Fredericktown would get out of the inning with a ground ball to escape unscathed.
While Fredericktown got runners in scoring position in the third, fourth and sixth innings, Wade was able to get out of each of those frames with no damage done.
“I thought Nico pitched a heck of a game,” said Bault after he finished with eight strikeouts and one walk, while giving up seven hits. “It’s one of the better games that anyone on our team has thrown. He did an excellent job of keeping their hitters off-balance.”
Unfortunately for the Pirates, while Wade was keeping the team in the game on the mound, they were unable to get another baserunner until the sixth inning. However, when they did in that frame, it looked promising. With one out, Danny Vaught reached on an error and Wade followed with a double to put runners on second and third.
Relief pitcher Nick Cunningham was able to regroup and strike out the next two batters, though, keeping Fredericktown’s lead at 2-0.
They would add an insurance run in the top of the seventh to lead 3-0 going into Cardington’s final offensive chance.
Nick McAvoy opened that inning with a single, but a strikeout and force out brought the Pirates to their final out with them only having a runner on first.
Josh Shook recorded an infield single to give the team a second baserunner. Avery Harper then popped up, but a Freddie error got him on base and also brought in a run to make it 3-1. However, Harper would then be caught stealing second to get into scoring position, as Fredericktown was able to hold on for the win.
With his team currently holding a 10-8 record, Bault is hoping his team can reach their preseason goals, noting that a mid-season six-game win streak put them in position to do so.
“We have a chance to put ourselves in the middle of the KMAC,” he said. “One of our goals was to get 15 wins and we have a good chance to do that.”
Rob Hamilton can be reached at 419-946-3010, ext. 1807. Connect with him on Twitter at @SportsMCS