LOUISVILLE — Trailing 10-4 midway through the fifth inning against Edwards County, the North Clay Cardinals put on their rally caps and went to work.
Coach John Frech’s team added three runs to the board before the bottom of the seventh, and tacked on a pair in the final frame before Stetson Traub came to the plate with the bases loaded and two outs.
Now down a single run, Traub ignored the pressure and did his job, ripping a shot down the third base line that looked to be the game-winning at-bat. But EC third baseman Levi Rogers had other ideas. Rogers stretched out parallel to the grass to grab the fiery ground ball, touching third base with his glove and delivering a perfect toss to first that ended the game on a double play.
The Lions erupted in celebration, holding on for a 10-9 win to give the Cardinals (1-1) their first loss of the season.
Though North Clay battled back mightily from a six-run deficit, Frech said there is no excuse for allowing ten runs during the course of the game.
“It’s not the finish that you look at,” he said. “You look at it through the course of the game. We gave up ten runs, we made mistakes.”
Edwards County came to Louisville ready to play, chalking up four big runs in the first two innings to build an early lead. The Lions got two runners on base in the second after back-to-back singles from Brayden Cowling and Tanner Watkins, with Cowling crossing home plate one batter later on a wild pitch from Cardinals’ starting pitcher Dylan Walker.
With Watkins now on second, Cherokee Metcalf delivered a double over the head of North Clay center fielder Logan Hilderbrand that brought his teammate home and gave the Lions their 4-0 lead.