This past weekend the Hamilton Cardinals 18U baseball team traveled to the Beast of the East Tournament in Wheeling, West Virginia.
The Cardinals started off the tournament with a 5-1 win against the Andy’s 9ers 17s. The Cardinals took an early lead and held onto it. Tim Black got the win, pitching seven complete innings, allowing only one run off four hits. In the second game, the Cardinals faced the Maryland Monarchs, one of two junior college teams the Cardinals would face. The Monarchs came out strong getting an 11-1 win over the Cardinals.
Game three saw the Cardinals face the Baltimore Blue Claws, the second junior college team. Hamilton was down 4-0 after two complete innings of play but battled to tie the game 4-4. After a few errors, the Blue Claws took a commanding 14-4 lead. Although the Cardinals fought back to score two more runs, the Blue Claws ended up winning, 16-6.
In game four, the Cardinals faced Braxton County Post 33. The Cardinals had seven hits, including a home run from Colin Porter, but it wasn’t enough. The Cardinals ended up losing 8-3.
Saturday morning, the Cardinals faced the CNY Thunder Nationals from New York. The Thunder lived up to their name and ended up with a 10-5 win over the Cardinals.
Cardinals’ short stop Chris Beer made some excellent plays to help keep the game close
Going into game six with a 1-4 record, the Cardinals faced Wheeling Post 1. Wheeling had a 4-0 lead heading into the top of the sixth inning. Cardinals’ pitchers Kyle Leavers, Malcolm Lewis and Jacob Chiaravalle stayed focused and did their job. Hamilton ended up scoring a run in the top of the inning. Kirk Forsyth reached first base on an error, was sacrificed to second, advanced to third on a pick off attempt and scored on Nathan Mastervick’s hit to the second baseman.
In the top of the seventh, Black hit a single up the middle to get things started for the Cardinals. Nolan Pettipiece then got a hit to advance Black to third. After a failed pick off attempt, Black scored.
The Cardinals luck was starting to come back. Chris Newman got on base on an error by the second baseman which could have ended the game but instead luck was on the Cardinals side. Lucas Pattison walked to load the bases for Evan Krychowski who hit a two-run single to tie the game at four.
After another failed pick off attempt by Wheeling, the Cardinals took the lead and got an insurance run off another error by Wheeling. The Cardinals ended up with a 6-4 win and an overall record of 2-4.
The Cardinals ended up placing fifth in their division and third in the next seeding which meant a 1 p.m. quarter final game on Sunday.
In the quarter final, the Cardinals faced Youth Service League from Brooklyn, N. Y. The Cardinals took a 3-0 lead in the top of the third and kept the lead throughout the game. Kyle Leavers hit a two-run home run to help the Cardinals 5-4 win.
The Cardinals advanced to the semi final game where they played the South Hills Merchants. Curtis Johnson got the start with Josh Toporowski behind the plate. Toporowski caught seven out of the nine games for the Cardinals. Johnson pitched an excellent game allowing only five runs off eight hits. The Cardinals won 9-5 to advance to the championship game.
In the final, the Cardinals faced the Sportzone Red Sox. Pettipiece got the start on the mound pitching six complete shut out innings. Leavers hit his second two-run homerun of the day helping the Cardinals take a 5-0 lead. Lucas Pattison also hit a home run to help with the 7-3 win.
The Hamilton Cardinals ended up in 25th place out of 42 teams. Coaches Gord Thompson and Steven Black are proud of the way the Cardinals team persevered in the hot weather and with playing against much older teams.