By Chris Zadorozny
A humid, hot day in Taylor made for some decent baseball weather for a game between the Melvindale Cardinals and the Truman Cougars. The Cougars were hoping to jump on the Cardinals recent lows, but Melvindale found its spark and dispatched the Cougars, 5-1.
The Cardinals scored a run early in the top of the first inning, and followed it with another run in the top of the second. The Cougars then got on the board in the bottom of the third inning, but that was it for run production from the Cougars.
“We hit the ball fairly well, we put it in play, we didn’t get the breaks we needed to get some of those runs in,” said Truman Coach Brad Schwartz.
Melvindale put the game away in the top of the fifth inning with two more runs, and added another in the top of the sixth.
The Cardinals top five hitters led the way, as they combined for nine of the 12 hits, and four of the five runs in 20 at-bats.
“We haven’t been hitting for almost two weeks, (but) we got some timely hitting and our defense turned two or three double plays,” Melvindale Coach Merle Shepard said. “We caught the ball and put it all together.”
Melvindale started the scoring and didn’t look back after the top of the first inning. Cardinals’ second baseman Kress Medina walked to start the inning, and advanced to second on a fielder’s choice, as third baseman Ross Ladach was out at first. Two batters later, Medina found himself on third after a single from second baseman Spencer Bingham, and scored on an RBI single from catcher Jason Doyle.
The following inning, the Cardinal’s scored another run. First baseman Nick Holbrook was hit by the pitch to start the inning, and three batters later, scored after reaching second on a stolen base. Right fielder Derrick Paluchniak singled him in from second to put the Cardinals up 2-0.
Truman responded in the top of the third with a run of their own, as second baseman Jordan Gardner scored on an RBI single from shortshop Jalen Bartus.
In the top of the fifth inning, the Cardinals put the game away with two more runs. Bingham singled to third to reach, and advanced to second on a passed ball during the next at-bat. Doyle then doubled to deep center field, brining in Bingham. Doyle would come around to score after Holbrook doubled him in with a shot to left-center.
The Cardinals tacked on their final run in the top of the sixth. Ladach singled with one out to shallow left field, and would come around to score four batters later on an RBI single by pitcher Nick West.
Truman couldn’t rally to catch the Cardinals as they fell to the Cardinals after they were caught in a double play, catching the runner at first to end the game.
Hunter Hanson threw a complete game for the Cougars, throwing 114 pitches, striking out eight, walking four and allowing five runs on 12 hit in 36 at-bats. The Cardinals opposed with Skylar Slotka for the first three and a third innings, throwing 59 pitches in 15 at-bats, allowing five walks and a run on two hits.
“He (Slotka) didn’t have it. He was throwing in the dirt a lot, and missing his spots. He’s more of a finesse pitcher, Skylar, and he didn’t have it,” said Shepard. They then brought in West for the remainder, who threw 43 pitches allowing just three hits, while striking out four in 13 at-bats.
“West came in and really kept us in the game and kept them a little bit off. When they did hit the ball, we fielded it and.”
The Cougars will finish out the season at Gibraltar Carlson tomorrow, and then fact the very same team next Tuesday to begin Districts. The Cardinals will face Trenton on Thursday for a doubleheader and then host Lincoln Park next Tuesday. At next Tuesday’s game, the Cardinals will be dedicating the baseball field to longtime teacher and coach, Gary Zalka, which begins at 5:00pm.
To read the original post that appeared in the Downriver News-Herald on May 21, 2013, go to www.miprepzone.com/thenewsherald