It was a clear skied Senior Night on Friday in Elizabeth, Colorado. The Cardinals were 11-6 going into the 4pm conference matchup against the 14-4 Canyon City Tigers.
Here are some of the highlights of the pregame action honoring the 10 EHS seniors
The game started off with junior Tyler Richardson popping the glove hard but not able to find the zone going down 3-0 to the leadoff batter. Battling back Richardson got his first of 11 K's for the night getting Shane Coffey to strike out swinging on an overpowering 3-2 fastball.
This matchup was a battle from the beginning with solid defense from both teams. Tyler Richardson got into trouble early having Lincoln Andrews get on base after a key fielders choice. Getting Andrews and his hot bat to hit a ground ball was a big stop. However another fielder's choice and a stolen base, Richardson faced a 1st and 3rd situation.
A quick pick off move to 1st base, Senior Cody Brown did his best to smother the low throw, but Andrews was able to hoof it from 3rd and score putting the Tigers on the board early 1 nil in the first inning.
Richardson wasn't phased as he struck out the next guy to get his team in to fight back.
Senior shortstop Colin Steinke did a job as the leadoff man crushing a line drive double to get things started. The Cardinals weren't able to score Steinke due to Zac Hanenberg striking out the side.
It was a dog fight until the 2nd inning. Elizabeth tried opening the flood gates. A leadoff hit, some stolen bases and key execution lead to EHS putting up 3 runs. Senior right fielder Gage Smith stroked a double to the right center gap. Junior DH Casey Berndt drilled a clutch RBI single. The Cardinals sophomore backstop Colt Tyler had a timely RBI up the middle despite Canon City's SS laying out for the ball. Sophomore Vincent Weber also lead the Cardinals barrage with an RBI as well.
Going deep into the 6th inning Tyler Richardson commanded the game still allowing 0 hits and 1 unearned run. With his back against the wall and his pitch count down he allowed one hit. With runners on he reached his final batter. Richardson dug deep and with a grunt on a 1-2 fastball he sat Canon City down swinging to retire the side.
The Cards weren’t able to score since the 2nd. Now the spotlight was on Senior closer Gage Smith. The League Champs title was on the line. In 16 pitches Smith was able to pickup where Richardson left off. Shutting the Tigers down and taking the league crown for the first time since 2010.
First year head coach Andrew Melton had this to say about this big time win giving the Cardinals a 12-6 Overall (7-1 League) record and securing a district birth:
I told our guys three things before the game. 1) Trust in each other, 2) Enjoy the moment (senior night, big crowd, playing for a league championship), and if you guys do those two things you will accomplish #3 and that is leave a legacy. Each and every one of our players contributed to that league title and I couldn't be happier for this team.
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