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BASEBALL: Cardinals honor legendary coach, win big against Spartans

The Lindsay Cardinals pull off a 15-3 win against the Strathmore Spartans in front of former Cardinals coach John Morrelli

LINDSAY – The Lindsay Cardinals unveiled a banner honoring John Morrelli in left field ahead of their victory over the Strathmore Spartans.

The Lindsay Cardinals defeated their longtime rivals the Strathmore Spartans 15-3 on Thursday, May 5. The Cardinals scored 14 runs by the end of the third inning, a massive leap from their previous game against the Spartans. The first time they met this season, the Cardinals squeaked out a 5-3 win after nine innings. This time, they knocked it out of the park with 15 runs and held the Spartans to only three. For the Cardinals, the motivation may have been the presence of legendary Lindsay coach John Morrelli, who was honored by the team before the game.

“Since we were honoring Coach Morrelli our guys were really ready to play,” Lindsay head coach Brent Kendig said. “We were prepared today as well as any game this year and to come out and get two runs in the first inning was huge and we just kept the pressure on.”

The Cardinals kicked off the game with a two-run first inning, then ramped it up with five runs in the second. Juan Vasquez and Gio Chavez led the scoring for the Cardinals. Both of them scored runs in the first, second and third innings. Their speed and timing allow them both to excel at stealing bases. The first two runs that they scored in the first inning were both due to them stealing home base on loose balls.

Loose balls were a huge problem for the Spartans. Leo Duran, Diego Juaregui and Nick Masiel all scored runs in the third inning by stealing home when the Strathmore catcher either dropped or didn’t catch a ball. After the third run in a row, the Spartans brought in a new catcher to solve the problem. But that didn’t stop the Cardinals from scoring, though they stopped attempting to steal bases after scoring 14 runs.

John Mosqueda started on the mound for the Cardinals and had a rocky start, but a good defense backed him up to prevent the Spartans from scoring. He did strike out three batters in the first inning, but it took over 40 pitches. By the fourth inning, Bailey Brown came in for relief. Mosqueda and Brown are the main pitchers for the Cardinals, trading off the starting and relief positions. In the seventh inning, Chavez came in to pitch with Mosqueda catching and struck out two batters.

“Anytime we get a W, especially for our seniors in their last game ever against Strathmore, it’s always a good day,” Kendig said.

Before the game, the Cardinals honored Morrelli with a new banner in left field that features a Lindsay jersey with Morrelli’s name and the number 27. They’re hoping to eventually honor more players and coaches. Morrelli also threw a ceremonial first pitch before the game, then stayed to watch.

Morrelli coached varsity baseball at Lindsay from 1985 to 2006. He coached the team to over 300 wins and three CIF section titles. Standing in front of both the varsity and junior varsity teams, Morrelli expressed his memories of Lindsay and thanked the Cardinals for the honor.

“It’s only fitting that we’d be playing the Strathmore Spartans today,” Morrelli said. “I hope we see a good contest and the Spartans play hard. Unfortunately, I hope the Cardinals play better, so let’s play ball.”

The Cardinals only have two games left in league play. As the second place team, they have a tough game coming up against the number one Woodlake Tigers on May 9. For the Spartans, they also only have one remaining game. It is also against Woodlake, but will be on May 11.

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