Tuesday, June 21, 2011

SPORTS >> Cardinals win league crown

Special to The Leader

The First Arkansas Bank Cardinals took home the league crown in Jacksonville’s Babe Ruth league with a 13-4 win over the Cooper Family Dentistry Rangers last night at Dupree Park.

The Cardinals took advantage of several Ranger errors each inning, while coming up with timely hits and playing great defense to earn the championship.

The Rangers got on the board in the top of the first with Laderrious Perry reaching on an error, then scoring on Courtland McDonald’s single.

McDonald was caught stealing at third while Brett Matchett walked. Matchett stole his way to third, but was stranded after a come-backer to the pitcher.

The first six Cardinals each reached base in the bottom of the inning, although two were cut down on the bases to help hold the home team to three runs.

Deaundray Harris led off with a walk and stole second, but suffered an ankle injury sliding into second and had to be helped off the field as baseball immediately became secondary.

Early reports were that he suffered a dislocated ankle and his status for the all-star team is uncertain.

Two more walks, two errors and two singles gave the Cardinals a 3-1 lead they never relinquished.
The Rangers missed a golden opportunity in the second inning with Perry at the plate and the bases loaded with two outs. Perry came into the game batting .900 (9 for 10) against the Cardinals this season, but a ground ball to second ended the inning and the threat.

First Arkansas broke the game open in the second inning as the Cooper Dentistry defense continued to fall apart. The bottom two batters in the order both reached on ground-ball errors, setting up the top of the order for a fielder’s choice and four consecutive hits, including a single by Zach Watkins, a two-run double by Dontae Harris and an RBI triple by Sam Dinkins.

The Rangers cut into the lead with a pair of runs in the top of the third. McDonald was hit by a pitch, stole second and scored on Matchett’s RBI single. Matchett stole second and third again and scored on a sacrifice bunt by Peyton Traywick. A deep fly by Darren Boyd and a grounder by Thomas Brooks ended the inning.

The Cardinals continued to pour it on in the bottom of the inning, with Larry Jones again reaching on an error, followed by Larry Boje’s single.

Both came around to score as the Cardinals added another single and two walks to go with four more errors in the inning and the rout was on as the score swelled to 13-3.

Johnny Yankowskas walked and scored on McDonald’s single for the Rangers’ last gasp against Cardinal pitcher Aguirre.

Aguirre went the distance, scattering three hits while spreading out five walks in four innings.

The two rival teams went in opposite directions at the end of the season. Cooper Dentistry won the first two meetings while starting the season 4-0 in the three-team league, but came apart at the seams late in the season, going 1-5 over their final six league games. First Arkansas went 7-1 in the league after losing the first two games to the Rangers.