Wednesday, July 22, 2020
A CLASSIC --RIVER MOCS 10 -- MANATEE 9 -- WEDNESDAY CARDINAL COUPLE
SQUEEZE BATTLE BACK, FALL JUST SHORT IN SLUGFEST
A very enjoyable two and a half hours of softball yesterday in the championship game of the FGCL Tournament, where the teams combined for 24 hits, 19 runs and more twists, turns, plot changes and excitement than an Alfred Hitchcock classic.
It was #1 vs. #2 at Lakewood Ranch and it provided plenty of drama -- this 10-9 win by Myakka City. If you're a fan of precise pitching and spectacular fielding, this wasn't the game for you -- but if you're a fan of "powerball softball" it's certainly worth your time to watch a replay of it. If you missed the live stream of it yesterday on You Tube. I have a link for the rebroadcast below:
MANATEE SQUEEZE VS MYAKKA CITY RIVER MOCS
This showdown started out very one-sided. Myakka City could do no wrong at the plate, the Squeeze was having trouble in the circle, on the field and at the plate. The River Mocs jumped to an early 8-0 lead after two innings and a run-rule contest looked like a real possibility. In wasn't Manatee starting pitcher Jenna Green's day, after a wonderful 9-1 season in the circle as the Squeeze's ace hurler.
Drama reared its head in the bottom of the second. Starting River Mocs pitcher and MVP of the league Mack Leonard came to bat in the inning with her squad up 4-0 and reached first base after getting plunked by a pitch. She tried to advance to second on a subsequent ground ball, but was forced out at second. Then, in something you rarely see in softball, she was tossed from the game by the field umpire for interference with Manatee second baseman Stormy Kotzelnick. Usually you see an umpire warning in a case like this. Was something said by Leonard that caused the toss? Regardless...
Myakka City had lost their pitching ace.
At first, it didn't seem to phase the River Mocs, they plated four more runs in the second, but Manatee (who had managed just one hit off Leonard in two innings of pitching) took advantage of the change in the circle. The Squeeze scored two runs in the third and added four more in the fifth inning. Meanwhile, Kenna Wilkey had come in to pitch for Manatee and was throwing a shutout for the Squeeze in the circle and Manatee had roared back to make it a 8-6 game.
"Uncle Mo" was in the Manatee dugout and Myakka City needed a response.
The River Mocs got a solo home run in the bottom of the sixth inning off Wilkey but Manatee came to the plate in the top of the sixth and went right back to work. Meagan Ricks drew a walk off struggling Myakka City pitcher K. Hobbs. Cardinal Paige Schindler beat out an infield single and Abi Stuart singled to right, Schindler getting forced out on a very close play at second. That set the stage for Manatee left fielder Jordyn Kadlub.
She lifted a fly ball to left field that cleared the fence. A three-run homer tied the contest at 9-9. The Manatee miracle comeback had come full circle. Cardinal Jordyn Wolfe did her best to keep the run production going by reaching base after getting hit by a Hobbs full count pitch, but Wolfe was left stranded at second.
This was a game you didn't want to see end, but, sadly it did in the next "at bats" for each squad. The River Mocs plated their 10th run of the day in the bottom of the sixth -- benefiting from a hit-by-pitch and single. 10-9.
Could Manatee remain productive in the top of the seventh?
The inning started well, with Nikki Cuchran belting a lead-off double to center. But...a strike out, fly out to center and ground out failed to get the tying run home and the River Mocs had pulled out the win.
Huge props to Manatee. It looked like curtains after two innings, but, this team never gave up the fight or the spirit all season long and that proved true again in the their final game. Would it have been different if Leonard hadn't been tossed for the River Mocs? We'll never know, obviously, but -- dealing in reality -- this was a game it was sad to actually have to declare a winner and loser in.
Both teams gave it their all.
For the Cardinals players in the contest, Jordyn Wolfe had a sparkling game, going two for three at the plate, reaching base three times and getting an RBI and scoring a run. Paige Schindler was also productive, going one for three at the plate.
On the season, Wolfe batted .367 in the 23 games she played for Manatee. She had seven doubles, one triple, scored 15 runs and drove in seven. Schindler came on strong at the end of the schedule as the Squeeze designated hitter and batted .400 in 13 games. She had two home runs, three doubles, scored four runs and drove in 11.
In a time where active sports have been scare, this league, these teams gave us something to write about, discuss, root for and debate. Wolfe and Schindler, two outstanding student-athletes, got the chance to continue their careers and have some fun in a competitive situation. We're proud of them here at Cardinal Couple and I guarantee the Cardinal softball coaches, staff and other players are, as well.
We'll give them a little time and then see if we can line up interviews with the dynamic duo.
It's sad to see this competitive summer league end. But, what a game to end it with!
Have a wonderful Wednesday!