Cards baseball returns to postseason
This time a year ago the Medical Lake Cardinals were in the driver’s seat in the 1A baseball playoffs.
Now they’re in the backseat, hoping to work hard enough to grab the wheel and plant their feet on the gas pedal.
With a split in a Saturday doubleheader with Riverside, winning 4-1 and losing 12-9, the Cards finished third in the final Northeast A League standings (10-8 NEA, 12-8 overall) following a 10-0 bashing of Chewelah last Tuesday. Combined, winning two of three games sent ML into the Bi-District playoffs that began this past Tuesday with a game against Brewster in Moses Lake.
Following a couple of big losses, 12-2 and 11-1 at the hands of Northeast A League runner-up Lakeside, Medical Lake’s baseball squad needed to regroup and reassess.
“We had a great week of practice,” head coach Kerry Kelly said. “We knew we needed a split and put Cory Wagner in there and he probably had his best game of the year in the opener of a doubleheader at Riverside (9-9, 9-11) last Saturday.”
Wagner had 12 strikeouts and scattered just five hits across seven innings in the 4-1 complete game win. “He gave up one run in the top of the first and just shut them down, great job,” Kelly said. Wagner also had two hits, including a double. Breydon Hale also had two hits for the Cards.
“Offensively, we had to come up with some runs and got big hits when we needed them,” Kelly said.
In the second game and with third place clinched, Medical Lake took a different approach, saving pitching for the playoffs, Kelly explained.
“We got behind early, had a big six-run inning to get us back into the game but couldn’t find the hits we needed in the second game,” Kelly said. Joe Sica had two of the eight ML hits.
Earlier in the week, Medical Lake got two hits from Hale and a five-inning complete game from Roman Kissack to win on Senior Night over Chewelah (2-16).
The Cardinals met the Caribou Trail League’s third-place team, Brewster (11-3, 17-3) in a loser-out game. The winner moves on to face NEA regular season champ Freeman (18-0, 18-1) Saturday at Wenatchee Valley College at 12:30 p.m.
“It doesn’t matter who we play, we know that league brings a real high caliber of baseball and whomever we play will be a challenge,” Kelly said.
Paul Delaney can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.