By Patrick Dillon @PDillon_SGN
LINDSAY – The Cardinals’ pitching staff has not missed a beat coming off last season’s valley championship run, and was the main reason Lindsay won their East Sequoia League opener 9-1 over the Woodlake Tigers on Thursday, March 7.
“I was really pleased with our pitching staff,” Lindsay head coach Brett Kendig said. “We had three guys come in and throw quality innings.”
The Cardinals pitching is where Lindsay has obtained some depth from last season to this one according to Kendig. It should help considering that the Cardinals are still without their ace entering the season Ryan Scheufele, who is still recovering from an injured throwing shoulder.
Kendig and the Cardinals were in a similar situation last season when they were without David Jimenez for the first 15 games.
Angel Perez started for the Cardinals (3-4, 1-0) and got the win. Not known for striking out opposing batters, he was able to keep the ball down in the strike zone. His experienced pitch placement resulted in multiple ground balls, which at first the Cardinals’ defense had trouble fielding, in his five innings on the mound.
There was more grass than normal because of the days of rain leading up to the game. Because maintenance crews were unable to tend to the field Lindsay’s infielders struggled to wade through the taller grass resulting in some close plays and extra baserunners.
“We didn’t play catch the way we should, but Angel did not let it faze him,” Kendig said. “He has been throwing quality pitches.”
In the top of the fifth inning Lindsay gave up Woodlake’s (1-5, 0-1) second bases-loaded situation. This time with no outs, the Tigers were able to score on a Cardinal double play.
Perez got out of the jam when the following Tiger batter hit into a routine ground out.
“We are fine giving up a run every now and then,” Kendig said. “We don’t want to give up that two or three run innings.”
The single run in the fifth didn’t account for much considering Lindsay had already built a substantial 6-1 lead.
Armando Medrano hit a two RBI double down the right field line which opened up the scoring for the Cardinals. He finished the game going 2-4.
Nick Dunning also went 2-4 with two RBIs.
A strong pitching core and an offense which is hitting are what the Cardinals will need if they hope to finally break through as ESL Champions after finishing third the last three years.
After the win Kendig joked with his players, remarking that they are in first, but those jokes were put aside considering the slate of league games they have this week.
Last night, Lindsay faced Fresno State bound pitcher Will Springer, and the perennial ESL power house the Sierra Pacific Golden Bears in Hanford. Final happened after press time.
Thursday night Lindsay returns home to play a much-improved Corcoran Panthers squad at 4 p.m.
“This is probably going to be the toughest week we get in league,” Kendig said.