Cardinals sweep Cougars
When Medical Lake saw two of its top performers from their 2013 Northeast A League championship baseball team graduate, the question of how that gap left by Kasey Kelly and Adam Paulson would be filled floated about.
Nearly halfway through their effort to defend that title it’s kind of, “Kasey and Adam who?” because it appears the Cardinals have not skipped a step, going 5-1 in the NEA and 6-1 overall.
Medical Lake played their lone games over spring break last Saturday, scoring a doubleheader sweep at Chewelah with wins of 8-6 and 10-3.
“(It was) a real good Saturday,” head coach Kerry Kelly said. “The kids are just starting to play better after having struggled a bit.”
But it was nice for them to get a lead,” Kelly said. “We hit the ball well, I think we had 22 hits over the two games.”
Ten different players got hits in the second game, which is a great thing, Kelly said.
“There’s a few players you hope and expect to come up big, but when everyone in the lineup is coming up big with a little bit there and a little bit here,” Kelly said.
After trailing early, 1-0, Medical Lake put together back-to-back big innings, scoring four in the third and three more in the fourth.
Cory Wagner and Tristen Keith each got RBI singles in the third. After the Cougars scored to make it a 4-2 game, Wagner and Keith teamed in the fourth with back-to-back doubles to drive in runs. Roman Kissack wrapped things up with an RBI single and Medical Lake led 7-2.
Keith ended his day going 2-for-4 with five RBIs. Wagner was 3-for-3 and an RBI, but also pitched. Wagner, who had command of the game on the mound through 6 and 1/3 innings, needed help from Dylan Rushfelt who got the final two outs in game-one where Chewelah rallied with four runs in the bottom of the seventh.
Medical Lake clung to a slim lead in game two with the help of an RBI single from Jacob Steinmetz in the two-run second. Singles in the third by Keith, Hale and Connor Cranston made it 4-2.
The Cards would break the game open with a four-run fifth as Hale, Jayln Musser and Tyler Munden all had RBI singles. They added another pair in the sixth on Rushfelt’s lead-off double, Musser’s walk and a 2-RBI single from Munden.
Keith, Cranston and Munden all went 2-for-2 with Munden racking up a pair of RBIs. Hale came on in relief in game-two after Kissack went five innings.
“This is one thing I said to the players,” Kelly said. “We love what happened last year, but that’s last year, we’re going to make our own mark.”
Kelly saw the potential to do this early. “When I looked at my roster this year, from 1-13, I feel a lot more balance on this team than we had even last year.”
Next up is a game Tuesday at home versus Riverside (3-3, 3-5) starting at 4 p.m., followed by a Wednesday, April 16 game at Lakeside, also at 4 p.m.
Paul Delaney can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.