Squeeze play breaks deadlock in annual Slug N Chug game

By Nik Franck
Guest Writer

By Nik Franck

Guest Writer

YA 6, Norwood 1

Young America and Norwood battled a tightly knit game through eight innings, until the Cardinals finally opened the game up with four runs in the eighth and claimed the win in the annual Slug N Chug game.

YA opened up the scoring in the second inning. Brandon Stender led off with a single and stole second base. He was moved up to third on a line drive single to right from Clint Aretz. Nik Franck followed that up with a shallow fly to center, just deep enough to score Stender from third base.

From that point on, starters Sam Anderson (YA) and Edgar Galinardo (Norwood) locked horns in a back and forth pitcher’s duel. Anderson was able to keep the Norwood attack in check, locating his fastball on the large outside corner given by the ump while mixing in the occasional curve ball that usually dropped in the zone, unchallenged by the Indian bats.

Galinardo mixed speeds on all of his pitches, frustrating the Cardinal sticks to no end.

But in the eighth, Galinardo ran out of steam and the Cardinals were there to pounce. Stender led off the eighth with a single, followed by an Aretz walk and a Franck hit by pitch. Bobby Kraemer succeeded on his second squeeze play of the year, plating Stender from third and Adam Ernst was able to come up with a big hit, looping a double down the third base line, scoring two runs.

Anderson managed eight innings, his longest outing of the year, striking out seven Indian batters. Stender finished with three hits and two RBIs. Both Aretz and Ernst collected two hits each.

YA 12, Plato 4

The Cardinals created some distance between Plato and themselves in the standings on Sunday, improving their record to 10-3 on the year and moving back into second place in the South Division standings. Plato’s record dropped to 9-5, good enough for a current fourth place slot.

The Bluejays drew first blood in the second inning, with a bases loaded sacrifice fly. Despite only the one out and a runner on third, YA starter Aaron Cook was able to get out of that innings, allowing the lone run.

The Cardinals struck back with three in the third thanks to a couple Plato errors, and four in the fourth, highlighted by a three-run homer from Stender. YA scored two more in the sixth, with RBI hits from Aretz and Franck. From there the Cardinals pretty much had the game in hand, with both teams scoring a few more runs to finish out the game.

Stender had a monster game, finishing 5-5 with five RBIs, including that three-run homer. Franck chipped in with four hits and Chet Maschke scored three times. All in all, the Cardinals offense blew open the doors, mustering 19 hits on the day.

Cook pitched through the sixth inning, allowing only two runs to the always dangerous Bluejay lineup. He was replaced by JP Schwartz, who finished out the game, striking out three batters.

Next up:

Young America battles for second place in the South standings on Tuesday night, as the Cardinals travel to Green Isle.

Both are in a virtual lock for second place in the standings, even though their records are a bit different because of the amount of games each has played.

After that, the Cardinals go up north to have some fun in the Nimrod Tournament, along the banks for the Crow Wing River in north-central Minnesota.