MIDDLEFIELD—After building a 5-0 lead, Cardinal needed a walk-off single in the bottom of the seventh inning to defeat Garfield Heights on Monday, 7-6.
The Bulldogs scored two runs in both the fifth and sixth innings and tied it with one in the seventh before Jacob Gotham’s one-out single scored the game-winner.
“I give a lot of credit to Garfield Heights, they got right back in it,” said Cardinal coach Seth Klepper. “We left the door open for them and they did what they were supposed to do. We just have to stay focused longer. We’ve been up early in other games and we’ve fallen back and lost focus and ended up losing them. We got the win and that was nice but they came back.”
Cardinal took a 1-0 lead in the first when Cam Klepper singled and scored on Gotham’s two-out double.
The Huskies added four more in the second when Justin Byler and Daniel Heredos both singled and scored on Klepper’s two-out double. Matt Carney and Parker Kosh hit back-to-back doubles to increase Cardinal’s lead to 5-0.
Garfield Heights scored a run in the third on a single and passed ball and used a pair of fifth-inning errors to pull to within 5-3.
Justin Shank relieved Cardinal starter Brian Westover with two down and the bases loaded in the fifth. He struck out the first batter he faced to preserve the two-run lead.
A walk and two hits led to two Garfield Heights runs in the sixth but Shank delivered with an RBI single in the bottom of the sixth to give the Huskies a 6-5 advantage.
“How about that for a freshman; he almost knocked it out of the park,” Coach Klepper said. “He had a great week down at JV and we brought him up earlier in the year and got him some opportunities then we sent him back down. We brought him back up and I knew he’d be lights out in that inning (on the mound). He’s slowly getting a lot of confidence in himself and I love it. He’s a heck of a little pitcher.”
The Bulldogs tied it again with two outs in the seventh.
Leon Webb was hit by a pitch then stole second. He moved to third on an error and scored on a Gotham overthrow on a pickoff attempt.
Carney, who finished the game 3-for-4, singled and stole second to open up the bottom half of the seventh. He moved to third on Kosh’s flyout and scored when Gotham atoned for the mistake in the top half of the inning with the game-winning base hit.
“That’s huge right now for us because we’re preaching that,” Coach Klepper said of Gotham bouncing back. “If you make a mistake, flush it and go on and pick yourself up. That’s our whole thing; you’ve got to overcome adversity. It was nice to see him do that.”
Cam Klepper, Gotham and Heredos each finished with two hits for the Huskies, who improved to 5-7. Klepper and Gotham both knocked in two runs.
Westover allowed one earned run on two hits and struck out five in 4 2/3 innings of work. Shank allowed two earned runs on three hits and struck out a pair in 2 1/3 inning to pick up his first varsity win.