Cardinals power out of the gates with big bats
Medical Lake's Cole Soliday lays down a bunt single against Davenport.
Medical Lake head baseball coach Kerry Kelly challenged his team last Saturday to get 25 hits in a doubleheader in the opening day of Northeast A League play with Newport.
His Cardinals answered the challenge, and more, in sweeping the Grizzlies 13-3 and 13-5, pounding out 29 hits. "It was a great start, we had anticipated we had a chance to get out of the gates quick and we took advantage of it," Kelly said.
Following a 9-0 nonleague win to open the season Thursday at home against Davenport, the Cardinals find themselves 3-0 with a busy slate of road games before they takeg the majority of spring break off.
Tuesday saw them at Freeman for a single game and Wednesday at Kettle Falls. Following spring break the Cards remain on the road at Chewelah, April 5 before returning home to face Riverside, April 15.
"Against Newport I challenged them to get 25 hits and they got 29; everyone on the roster got a hit that day," Kelly said.
Offense was something Kelly said his team wanted to work on and improve upon over the offseason, "And we did," Kelly said of his defending league champs.
After surrendering three runs to the Grizzlies in the top of the first sophomore pitcher Aaron Sunde settled down and let his offense go to work - eventually.
Medical Lake scratched out runs in the first and third, first with Sunde's single scoring Dylan Rushfelt, who was on board with a walk. In the third, Rushfelt, again on with a walk, scored on a passed ball.
ML's four-run fourth three straight singles, including one on a bunt by Cole Soliday scored Connor Cranston, Jayln Muser and Cory Wagner. In the two-run fifth, Wagner's single scored Tyler Munden and Muser.
The five-run sixth is when the Cardinal bats got hot.
Rushfelt led off with a single, Hudson Petek walked and then Tristen Keith doubled in Rushfelt. Petek scored on a single by Joe Sica. Cranston reached on a fielders choice. Munden doubled in the right field gap scoring Cranston and Keith. Munden scored on a single by Wagner.
"Aaron Sunde and Cory Wagner really did great for us," Kelly said. Sunde threw three innings of the first game, getting relief from Wagner as the two scattered seven hits.
Rushfelt had three singles, Sunde two singles and a double with Wagner and Keith stroking a single and double.
Medical Lake picked up in the second game where they left off in the first, scoring five runs in both their halves of the first and second innings.
Singles by Wagner, and Sunde with two outs, were followed by Breyden Hale reaching base on an error, scoring Wagner. Sunde and Hale scored on a single by Keith. Muser singled in Keith. Jacob Steinmetz drove in Soliday who reached on an error.
In the second, Sunde led off with a double, Rushfelt singled and Sica was on board with a walk to load the bases. Hale reached on an error scoring Sunde. Keith doubled home Rushfelt and Sica. Hale scored on an error and Keith a passed ball as the Cardinals were up 10-0 after two at bats.
Petek got a 2-RBI single in the three-run third. Wagner's leadoff triple, part of a three-hit game, was the key hit in the two-run fourth.
Rushfelt and Sunde each had three hits while Wagner, Keith, Muser and Steinmetz two each.
Hale went three innings to get the win in the second game but got two innings of relief from Wagner as the two scattered six hits.
"That was a great thing to see the bats come alive after kind of a slow start against Davenport," Kelly said.
The Cardinals broke open a close game scoring three runs in the bottom of the fourth and two more each in the fifth and sixth against the Gorillas. Keith led off the inning with a double, Muser was hit by a pitch and Sunde's single scored both Keith and Muser in a quick start.
It was nice to get out and play some games after being in the gym so long, Kelly said. What really pleased him was despite being inside so much this spring, "Everybody on the roster contributed so that was the great thing on the day."
Paul Delaney can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.