“We go out and play six good innings of ball in a seven inning game and it’s just not enough in this league.”
It’s hard to argue with the words of Kevin Shirtliffe, head coach of the Yorkton Bantam Cardinals, following his teams’ 20th loss of the season and 15th in a row in Regina Bantam ‘AAA’ Baseball League play.
“This weekend we were without Jordan Evans and it was evident,” offered Shirtliffe, continuing, “We’re missing his bat, we’re missing his arm in the rotation as well. But we can’t use that as an excuse.”
These comments come on the heels of two stinging losses, 14-7 and 14-3, both to the Regina Buffalos at Jubilee Park and before two more losses to the Regina Pacers on Sunday by scores of 6-1 and 11-5 at Pacers Park in Regina.
The games on Sunday went just like the games on Saturday did: With one strong effort in Game One followed by an equally poor one in the second game.
In Game One on both days the Bantam Cardinals deserved a better fate. In the 14-7 loss against the Buffalos on Saturday it was really just one player, Buffalos’ clean-up hitter Ben Flaman, that made the difference as Flaman hammered two balls over the fence, one for a three-run-shot and the other for a grand slam to give the Buffalos the seven run cushion for the 14-7 win.
In Game One on Sunday it was the lack of execution that hurt the Cardinals as they stranded 10 runners on base, including twice with the bases loaded, to ruin a strong start by Grady Hawkins (6.0 IP, 6 run, 10 hit, 6K, 1BB).
But while both Game Ones were strong efforts, the Game Twos were equally as bad. On Saturday against the Buffalos Yorkton took the lead 3-2 heading into the fourth inning where they let up, allowing Regina to score two in the fourth, four in the fifth and six in the sixth to win 14-3 via mercy rule.
Game Two in Regina against the Pacers was also one to forget. After plating two in the top of the first things looked good; that is, until the defence made its way out onto the field.
Regina scored three in the first, aided by two routine fly balls that were dropped as well as a plunked batter, three in the third and three in the fourth to take a 9-2 lead before tacking on two more in the fifth to lead 11-2.
A three run seventh by Yorkton made the score slightly more respectable at 11-5, however it wasn’t the loss that irked coach Shirtliffe.
It wasn’t even the errors that bothered him.
It was the way the team responded to the errors. “I wasn’t disappointed by the mistakes we made. It’s (bantam) baseball. Mistakes are going to happen,” said Shirtliffe. “I was disappointed by the way our team responded to those mistakes.
“You’ve got to be able to shake those things off & pick yourself up. In baseball, you’ve got to be focused on the next play, not the last one.”
The next action for the Yorkton Bantam Cardinals will be this weekend, July 26 and 27, when they travel to Regina for league playoffs.
Following league playoffs the Yorkton Bantam ‘AAA’ Cardinals will practice for a week before travelling to Saskatoon to take part in ‘AAA’ Bantam Provincials with six other teams: The Saskatoon Cardinals, Saskatoon Athletics and Saskatoon Blue Jays as well as two Regina teams that have yet to be chosen.