The Yorkton Bantam ‘AA’ Cardinals made the long trek to Weyburn on Saturday, May 24, for a doubleheader with the host Beavers.
But as long as the journey to Weyburn was, the trip back to Yorkton following back-to-back mercy-rule losses, 12-0 and 15-3, must have seemed like an eternity for a young Cardinals club that, according to head coach Kevin Shirtliffe, simply ran into an extremely hot ball club. “Weyburn kind of took it to us,” offered the Bantam bench boss via a phone interview on Monday. “It was a matter of running into a team that was swinging a good bat right through their line-up. They were hitting the ball very well top to bottom and we just couldn’t match it all day long.”
Game one was a tough one for the Cardinals as they reached base just three times all game, once on a Dylan Novak second inning walk and once each on singles by Kaito Farquharson in the first and Jordan Evans in the fifth.
Weyburn, meanwhile, feasted on the Cardinal pitching staff.
The eager Beavers offence scored three in the first and one in the third before thumping Cardinals starter Kaito Farquharson and reliever Montana Johnson for a total of eight runs in the fourth inning to end any hope of a Cardinal comeback and clinch the game 12-0.
However, Shirtliffe feels that the 12-0 result does not accurately reflect the way both Farquharson and Johnson pitched in the first game. Instead, Shirtliffe believes that his two pitchers threw well, but simply ran into a team swinging a hot bat. “He (Farquharson) actually pitched really well. He was around the zone and throwing well. They were just right on top of him with the bats,” suggested Shirtliffe. “Then Montana Johnson came into the game in relief to get the last couple of outs for us and he was throwing alright but again, they just kept hitting.”
It seemed as if Game Two was going to go the way of the Cardinals, especially with the way the team came out offensively.
The plucky redbirds had three players reach base in the first inning of Game Two, equalling their baserunner total from the first game, thanks to a single by Zachary Goulden-Maddin and a walk by Kaito Farquharson.
Yorkton’s third baserunner of the inning was Montana Johnson (2-for-3, three RBIs), who slapped a single into the outfield with two out, scoring both Goulden-Maddin and Farquharson to give the Cardinals their first lead of the day.
That lead was short lived, however, as Weyburn’s potent offence doubled the Cardinals two runs in the top of the first by putting up four of their own in the bottom half of the inning.
The Beavers offence continued to flex its muscles in the second and third innings, pushing three runs across in the second frame and one more in the third before the Cardinals once again found the scoreboard in the top of the fourth to make the score 8-3.
A scoreless fifth meant that the Cardinals still had a chance to mount a comeback. But after being kept off the scoreboard in the top of the sixth it appeared as if the Cardinals had accepted their defeat and collapsed defensively, allowing the Beaver offence to score seven more runs en route to the 15-3 victory.
The sixth inning collapse did not go unnoticed by head coach Kevin Shirtliffe, who felt that up until the point of collapse, his team had a chance to come back. “It’s disappointing,” said Shirtliffe, continuing, “I wanted to see a team that was going to be gritty and determined to make a game out of it, instead I felt we kind of gave up and gave up another big inning.
“Instead of keeping the score respectable we kind of made it embarrassing for ourselves.”
The Yorkton Bantam ‘AA’ Cardinals have some time to work out the kinks of their offensive and defensive play. They don’t have a scheduled regular season game until mid-June, when they host the Regina White Sox on June 14 for a doubleheader.
The next action for the Cardinals will be June 6th-8th when they travel to Regina for a ‘AAA’ tournament.