It’s been a woeful season thus far for the Yorkton Bantam ‘AAA’ Cardinals, who were 2-12 heading into this weekend’s tilt with the 9-9 Regina White Sox.
But as bad as the season had been, the Cardinals headed into their Sunday doubleheader with the White Sox with high hopes, having lost to the Sox 7-6 their last game and having beaten them by mercy-rule in a tournament earlier this season.
However their early season success against the White Sox was not to be repeated as the visitors worked Cardinals starter Kaito Farquharson (4.1 IP, 5 H, 6 R, 6 ER, 10 BB, 9 K) for 10 walks and five hits in just over four innings of work en route to an 8-1 Regina win in Game One.
The 10 walks issued by Farquharson are a season high for the usually accurate hurler, however Bantam head coach Kevin Shirtliffe doesn’t blame his ace for the loss. “He *Farquharson) didn’t have the command that we usually see out of him,” mentioned Shirtliffe. “But the defence was booting a few balls behind him as well and that caused some problems for us and we kind of let it slip away from us after that.”
Once again there wasn’t much offence to speak of for the Bantam Cardinals. However Ashton Shewchuk still led the team offensively in Game One. Shewchuk went 1-for-1 at the plate with a walk, a hit-by-pitch and a run scored.
The second half of the double header looked much more promising than the first for the Yorkton Bantam Cardinals.
Grady Hawkins got the nod in Game Two and put together a fairly strong start. Hawkins (4.1 IP, 6 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 5 BB, 2 K) ran into some early trouble, walking three of the first five batters in the first inning and allowing Regina to score two runs before put together back-to-back three up, three down innings to keep his team in the game.
His team, meanwhile, did their best to support their starter with some runs. The Bantam Cards scored one run in the second, snapping their trend of only scoring in the final inning of play, to cut the Regina lead in half at 2-1.
Hawkins ran into some more trouble in the fourth when Regina began to get their timing down as he gave up two runs on three hits before getting out of the inning trailing 4-1.
Another solitary run in the fourth for Yorkton made it 4-2 Regina, however one more run would be charged to Hawkins in the fifth inning as Regina scored once more in the top of the fifth to take a 5-2 lead.
The Cardinals quickly answered the White Sox’ fifth run of the game with their third to keep the deficit at two, but unfortunately errors crept back into the game, enabling the Regina team to score three in the sixth and two in the seventh to take a commanding 10-3 lead.
Give credit to the Cardinals, however, as they were not going to go down without a fight in Game Two. Kaito Farquharson groundout to start the inning, Zach Goulden-Maddin singled to give Yorkton a bit of life in the bottom half of the seventh.
Goulden-Maddin would then use his speed to get into scoring position before an Ashton Shewchuk single put two men on base.
That brought Yorkton’s resident slugger Jordan Evans to the plate. Evans quickly got a pitch he liked and punched it towards the outfield. Goulden-Maddin broke for home, but was thrown out on a controversial play where it appeared as if he had beaten the tag.
However the umpire deemed he had not beaten the throw and instead of one run in and two men in scoring position with one out, it two on and two out, causing head coach Kevin Shirtliffe to make a beeline towards the home plate umpire before thinking better of it and returning to his third base coach position.
Montana Johnson quickly grounded out to second to end the game and give Regina their second win of the day, this time 10-3.
Jordan Evans led the Cardinals offence in Game Two. Evans went 3-for-3 with two stolen bases and a run scored, while Brayden Matkowski also had a solid game at the dish going 2-for-2 with an RBI.
Following the game, Shirtliffe shared his opinion of the close call at the dish in which Goulden-Maddin appeared to have been safe. “One play doesn’t make a ball game,” acknowledged the Bantam Cardinals bench boss. “, however it did certainly kill a rally.
“It was late in the game and we were starting to string some hits together and get some base runners on and who knows? With a run scored and two runners in scoring position, who knows what might have happened there in the bottom of the seventh. We could have, at the very least, made it a little bit more respectable.”
Shirtliffe also made sure to point out that he wasn’t actually blaming the home plate umpire for anything. In fact, he praised the umpires for the work they do game in and game out. “You have to give a lot of credit to those umpires because they do a thankless job,” mentioned Shirtliffe before adding, “but from my angle I thought he got under the tag.”