The Wiregrass Cardinals 19U team got a solid pitching performance by Brock Huner and some timely hits in eliminating D65 NLB Orlando from the AAU National Championship 18/19U tournament with a 10-0 win at Northcutt Field on Tuesday.
Huner went the distance in tossing a two-hitter with six strikeouts and didn’t allow a walk in getting the win on the mound.
“We had a great game pitched by Brock,” Wiregrass coach Sammy Frichter said. “And the key to it was he didn’t have any walks. Anytime you get a pitcher that has no walks, you have an 80 percent chance of winning the game.”
The Cardinals didn’t have a great day offensively early in the game, but took advantage of some Orlando miscues to put runs on the scoreboard.
“You’ve got to keep plugging away,” Frichter said. “They played hard. We’ve got 12 players and these are the dirty dozen.”
Wiregrass advances to play the LB Warriors of Baton Rouge, La., on Wednesday at 8 a.m. at Eagle Stadium in Ozark. The Warriors defeated the Cardinals 10-1 in pool play on Friday.
“We’re going to go after the Louisiana team tomorrow (Wednesday),” Frichter said. “I’ve got Dylan Register on the hill, so I feel real confident.”
The winner of the Warriors/Cardinals game will play the North Florida Black Sox (Gray) approximately 15 minutes after the conclusion of the first game.
In the other 18/19U game on Tuesday, the North Florida Black Sox (White) defeated the North Florida Black Sox (Gray) 10-5.
As the tournament goes into its sixth day, pitching becomes a concern.
“We’ve got to win them one at a time,” Frichter said. “I’ve got Register first. After that, I don’t know what I’m going to do, but we’ll be OK.”
Wiregrass scored twice in the bottom of the second when Huner was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded and Christian Beasley followed with a walk to make it 2-0. Jamel Rookard had singled to open the inning, Nick Venable reached on a bunt and Dylan Hogan walked to load the bases with nobody out.
Orlando pitcher Eric Claudio caught a pop up and recorded a strikeout before hitting Huner to bring in the first run.
The Cardinals added a run in the fourth on a wild play. With Jonathan Skinner at second and Kohler Tabb at first, Beasley singled into right field with two outs. Tabb rounded second and headed for third on the play, where Skinner remained. Tabb then was caught in a rundown between second and third and Skinner took off for home to score to make it 3-0. Tabb then dove into third base safely, but an ensuing groundout ended the inning as Claudio avoided further damage.
Wiregrass scored three more in the fifth. The first run came in when Venable sliced a double into left field to score Register. Two more runs came in when Hogan hit a hard grounder with runners at second and third that bounced off the second baseman’s chest to make it 6-0.
The Cardinals won by the 10-run mercy rule in the bottom of the sixth when four runs crossed the plate. Register drove in two with a bad-hop single over third. He later scored on a wild pitch and the final run came in when Brantley Riley singled in Hogan.
In the 16/17U tournament on Tuesday, the Wiregrass Cardinals 17U eliminated GATA Wolfpack 6-5, Enterprise eliminated D65 NLB Orlando 7-0 and the game between Ozark Baseball and the Dothan Dragons 16U team at Eagle Stadium was postponed by rain after two scoreless innings. The completion of that game will begin at 8 a.m. on Wednesday at Northcutt Field in Dothan, followed by Enterprise vs. the Wiregrass Cardinals. The winner of the Enterprise/Wiregrass game will then face the loser of the Ozark/Dothan Dragons game in the third and final game of the day at Northcutt Field.
In the 15U tournament on Tuesday, the Dothan Dragons 14U defeated Ozark 15U 7-3 to advance to the championship game on Wednesday at Eagle Stadium against the Wiregrass Cardinals 15U beginning at approximately 12:30 p.m.