The Mosquito AA Cardinals baseball team opened up their short season in a big way on June 27. The young team, comprised of the area’s best players from the three local Mosquito “A” teams hosted a night game at Lions Park by the Kinsmen Arena that gave the young ballplayers an opportunity to play baseball under the lights for the first time.
The ballgame featured the host Cardinals and the visiting Langenburg Indians in what served as a “season opener” for the makeshift Cardinals club who are experimenting with AA ball after a full single a season, giving the team little time to prepare making exhibtion games like this one vital to the teams growth before they embark on their goal of a successful showing in Melville’s AA tournament.
The Cardinals had a solid outing in their debut, but could not deal with the Indians plate discipline as walks drawn by the Langenburg batters proved to be the difference in the game as many of the runs conceded by the Cardinals game off of throwing errors which is to be expected in such a youth level of baseball.
Signs of winning baseball were shown throughout the game including a key hold by the Cardinals pitcher in the Indians last at bat after loading the bases with no outs with the scoreline at a manageable 4-1 tally.
The Cardinals pitcher recorded two straight strikeouts to get the out total to two before conceding another walk making it 5-1 and bringing on a reliever after a very gutsy and impressive showing of character after nearly turning the game into a rout. The Cardinals reliever then got the final out of the inning allowing the Cardinals to get one last chance at making a final inning rally under the lights.
However the storybook ending was not in the cards and the Indians pitcher closed the door on the Cardinals comeback attempt with three straight outs giving the Langenburg ballclub a road win and the Cardinals a loss in their first game as a team. The game did serve its purpose of giving the young ballplayers game experience and a special moment as the full crowd of supporting parents and fans combined with the night baseball atmosphere gave the game a unique and special feeling that should help the ballplayers come together as a team in the future.
Coach Grant Bjornerud was happy with the way his Cardinals ballplayers battled and noted that “the frequent practice schedule has shown improvement.” Bjornerud said that they are “looking for bigger and better things to come.” Bjornerud thanks the fans and everyone who helped organize the event, including Mark Schendel who ran the public address for the ball game and coach Shawn Frankfurt who put in a lot of long hours and work into organizing the special event for the team.
The Cardinals will continue their brief three week season with a handful of exhibition games before their season ending tournament in Melville.