The Yorkton Cardinals have recorded five wins in their last seven games and have scratched themselves back into the Western Major Baseball League playoff picture.
The Cardinals raised their record to a 17-21, good enough for second spot in the WMBL East Division 7.5 games back of Regina. Weyburn sits third 8.5-games back, with Melville 10 off the pace.
Cardinal coach John McVey said the team looked at the past week on the schedule, and saw it as an opportunity. He said with games within the East Division they talked about it “being an opportunity to put ourselves in a spot to be a playoff team after this week … and the guys got on a roll.”
Split with Red Sox
The Yorkton Cardinals hosted Regina for a pair of games against at Jubilee Park Monday.
The first action of the night saw an earlier rain delay game restarted with Ben Grillo coming up with a single to score two runs batted in. The two runs would be enough as the Red Sox managed only one run.
“Grillo had a huge two-run single,” said McVey.
In the second game the Sox scored two in the top of the first, added two more in the third, and three in the fourth on their way to a 7-1 win in a seven-inning contest.
The Cardinals managed only four hits against Regina starter Justin Blue who went the distance.
Clay Rideout started for the Cardinals and went four innings while being tagged with the loss.
McVey said of course they wanted both games, but added in a doubleheader “80 per cent split them anyway,” adding it was the case of Rideout getting “the short-end of the stick.”
It was also a case of Blue being a premier pitcher who was dealing his good stuff Monday.
“He was throwing hard,” offered the Cardinal coach.
The Moose Jaw Miller Express visited Jubilee Park Sunday where Yorkton starter Jeff Pool would hold the visitors to two earned runs while scattering nine hits as the Cards rolled to a 9-2 win.
Kameron Mizzell led the Cardinal offence with three RBIs.
McVey said Pool on the mound is always big for the Cardinals. “He’s sort of a senior go to guy … and he just performed in the game.”
Loss to Mils
Saturday the Cardinals made a trip down Highway 10 to play Melville scoring three runs in the first, then adding singles in the second and third to take a 5-0 lead.
However, the Mils scored five in the fourth to tie the contest.
Yorkton would regain the lead with one in the seventh and one in the eighth for a 7-5 lead.
But again the Mils roared back, scoring three in the ninth for a walk-off 8-7 win
Jamie Whitehead started the game for Yorkton going seven innings, allowing five runs, all of them earned, and recording eight strikeouts, but he was out of the contest before a decision was reached.
Austin Drummonds was tagged with the loss based on one-third of an inning of relief work.
McVey said the Cardinals had the heart to win the game, but added “heart doesn’t do much when you’re hurting.” He said the team just had enough bumps and bruises they couldn’t quite put the game away.
Moose Jaw win
The Cardinals visited the Miller Express Thursday, scoring two in the second, adding one in the fourth, and five in the fifth on their way to a 7-4 win.
Nick Gotta and Kameron Mizzell both punched home runs for Yorkton in the win.
Cole Roark started the game and went six innings, scattering nine hits and allowing the three runs, two earned, to earn the win.
W’s in Melville
Last Wednesday the Cardinals were in Melville for one of the wildest games in team history.
The two teams would combine for 37 hits, use 11 pitchers, walk 16, commit 11 errors, and ultimately score 36 runs as the Cardinals won 20-16.
Ben Grillo would have four RBIs for Yorkton, Cameron Duncan would hit a home run and plate three RBIs, and Austin Drummonds would have a solo round-tripper in the contest.
A night later the teams would again hook up at Pirie Field in Melville, but this time the Cardinals would manage a more normal win by an 8-3 score.
Codi Scanlon would start the game for the Cardinals, pitching seven innings, scattering six hits and the three runs, all of them earned to record the win.
The Cardinals head on their western road swing starting with action scheduled for tonight (Wednesday) in Swift Current.
Thursday the Cardinals visit Lethbridge, then move on to Okotoks for action Friday and Saturday.
Sunday Yorkton head back to play the Bulls in Lethbridge and then stop to face the Indians in Swift Current again Monday.
McVey said with seven games in a row on the wall, among only eight games on the schedule, it will be a tough road to the end of the regular season. He added “three, maybe four wins” would secure the Cardinals their first playoff spot in five seasons.