MIDDLEFIELD–Cardinal’s bats came alive in the bottom of the seventh inning as the Huskies nearly rallied back from a five-run deficit in a 6-5 loss to visiting Madison on Wednesday.
Trailing 6-1, Cardinal put together a seventh inning rally that included four walks and two base hits but the Huskies left the tying run stranded on second base.
“It was too little, too late,” said Cardinal coach Brian George. “We got ourselves out a lot in the first half of this game. We did some things when we were ahead in the count, swinging at pitches that we don’t normally do.”
Madison scored two runs in both the first and second innings and another in the third to take an early 5-0 lead.
The Huskies, who dropped to 1-4, had their chances to climb back into the game but couldn’t come up with the clutch hits. Cardinal left six runners on base in the first three innings alone.
“We need to mature a little bit at the plate,” George said. “We can’t get ourselves out. We’ve got to let a guy walk us. Everybody wants to get a hit but we’ve got to take that next step and say, ‘OK, I’ll take my walk.’ We can walk guys in. I think that was a bit of an issue.”
The Blue Streaks added a run in the top of the fifth, which turned out to be the difference.
Cardinal’s KC Cress reached on an error to start the bottom half of the sixth then stole two bases and scored on a throwing error to make it 6-1.
The Huskies drew back-to-back walks to start the bottom of the seventh and Cody Purpura reached on an infield single to load the bases. Ryan Bruncak walked to make it 6-2 and Clark Thurling singled to score two more runs. Evan List then walked with one out to reload the bases. Brant Zemelka knocked in another run on a fielder’s choice but a ground ball to the pitcher ended the game.
“For the first five innings we kind of dug ourselves in,” George said. “We probably gave up about three runs that were not earned, so we put ourselves in a bind. The guys did a nice job, they stayed with it and came back and got behind each other. Hopefully you build a little momentum even though you took a loss.”
Thurling had two hits and two runs batted in for the Huskies while Purpura and Logan Schultz accounted for Cardinal’s other hits.
“Clark hit the ball hard,” George said. “He was hitting the ball on the nose. Cody hit it hard too. We had some other guys hitting the ball hard too but they were just loud outs.”
Despite the loss, the Huskies built some momentum heading into Thursday’s game at Pymatuning Valley.
“I think that gives us momentum,” George said. “We’ve got games every day this week so I think that offensive come back builds some positive things going into tomorrow going to PV.”