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BASEBALL: Cardinals clinch league, break tie with Tigers

Lindsay junior Bailey Brown leads Cardinals to clinch East Sequoia League championship

WOODLAKE – With Brown batting in four runs and scoring one himself, the junior led the Cardinals to a 5-4 victory over the Tigers. The teams were tied for first place in the ESL.

The Lindsay Cardinals came back from a one-point deficit to defeat the Woodlake Tigers and take first place in the East Sequoia League on Tuesday, May 9. The Tigers and the Cardinals were tied in league, with records of 5-1. In the second to last game of the year, the two rivals faced off to determine who would come out on top. In the final inning, Lindsay junior Bailey Brown hit a single to send his teammates, Anthony Mosqueda and Gio Chavez home to score the fourth and fifth runs and beat the Tigers. With the win, the Cardinals have at least clinched a share of the league championship.

“[Brown] had four RBIs,” Lindsay head coach Brett Kendig said. “He’s really competed all year. He had a huge hit [to win]. Two strikes then he hit a line drive.”

The Cardinals were down by a run heading into the sixth inning, but were at the top of their batting order. After Juan Vasquez struck out, the next three batters were able to get on base. Anthony Mosqueda and Chavez got base hits, while the Tigers intentionally walked John Mosqueda, the fourth-spot batter for the Cardinals. Perhaps the mistake was underestimating Brown, who had batted in two runs to tie the game back in the third inning.

Brown was facing a new pitcher. Woodlake junior Landon Gamez came in as the relief pitcher in the fifth inning after starting pitcher Ismael Pena walked John Mosqueda and Brown. After carefully watching the batters before him, Brown stepped up to the plate. Gamez threw two balls and a strike before Brown got the pitch he needed. Anthony Mosqueda and Chavez, both fast runners, took off towards home. Chavez dove into a slide for the winning run and the Cardinals had pulled ahead.

They were only in the position to win thanks to Brown’s actions earlier in the game. He batted in Vasquez and Chavez for the Cardinals’ first two runs in the third inning, then scored the third run himself after Pena walked him in the fifth. Chavez, Anthony Mosqueda and Vasquez had huge contributions on offense with their consistent hitting at bat and their speed around the bases. On defense, John Mosqueda came in as relief for Chavez, who started on the mound despite battling the flu the day before.

“Luckily, we have a guy like John who can step in,” Kendig said. “And he’s got a really good breaking ball so we figured that would slow them down.”

Unfortunately for the Tigers, they were unable to score a run to tie the game in the bottom of the sixth. Due to the lack of daylight, the umpires called the game at the end of the sixth inning and the Cardinals clinched at least a partial league title. While they are now 6-1 and the Tigers are 5-2, both teams have one game left. If the Cardinals lose to Orange Cove on May 11 and the Tigers beat Strathmore the same day, they’ll share the victory.

“We know we’ll have one piece of the championship no matter what,” Kendig said. “Orange Cove is a solid team.”

The ESL has been one of the toughest leagues in Tulare County this season and Woodlake and Lindsay have managed to stay on top. Lindsay’s only loss has been to Woodlake in their previous meeting and Woodlake lost to Farmersville on May 4.

“It’s been a pretty tough road,” Woodlake head coach Juan Gamez said. “We really haven’t been blowing anyone out or anyone blowing us out. It’s been really exciting. A lot of good baseball.”

Despite the loss, the Tigers played an impressive game of baseball. They were strong on offense with Pena leading off the game with a home run in the first inning. They just fell short on defense at the end. As both coaches pointed out, the game could have gone either way. Perhaps if the daylight hadn’t faded and prevented a seventh inning, the score might have been different.

If they want a piece of the league championship, the Woodlake Tigers will have to hope that the Lindsay Cardinals lose to Orange Cove while they face Strathmore on May 11.

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