No. 11 Cardinal played one of its most complete games of the season to upset No. 6 Garrettsville Garfield in a Division III sectional semifinal on Wednesday, 3-1.
Brice Hogue allowed just one earned run and struck out three in his complete-game victory and the Huskies manufactured the runs they needed to win on the road.
“Everything went well,” said Cardinal coach Seth Klepper. “Brice pitched a heck of a game, the kids played defense and they hit the ball. We went back to playing baseball to how we used to play it and stole some bases here and there and moved some runners up and got key hits when we needed to.”
Hogue led off the game with a single and stole second.
Cam Klepper, who finished with two of Cardinal’s five hits, then singled and stole second and third. He scored on an error after Hogue was thrown out at the plate to give the Huskies a 1-0 lead.
“That was huge for us,” Coach Klepper said. “With an early lead we can work the pitchers more. We could have maybe scored another run but they picked us off with a pickle but it was good to get off to a good start, especially when you’re playing away.”
Garfield opened the bottom of the third with a solo home run but Hogue didn’t allow more than one G-Men on the bases until the fourth.
Cardinal added a pair of insurance runs in the sixth when Hogue drew a leadoff walk and Klepper singled. Hogue scored on an error and Parker Kosh singled home Klepper to make it 3-1.
“This was probably the most satisfying win of the year,” Cam Klepper said. “We constantly got on base and made some really nice plays throughout the game. I think most of the guys aren’t even bothered by the postseason. We’re looking at it as just our second season as a team”
The Huskies turned two double plays in the later innings to keep Garfield from climbing back into the game.
“Brice got into a little trouble a couple of times but we managed to get out of it,” Coach Klepper said. “Cam and Parker had a nice double play. That got us out of a jam and in the bottom of the seventh they had two guys on but a couple popups later and we were out of it. He stuck with the game plan and kept throwing first-pitch strikes and off-speed on the first pitch and it worked.”
Cardinal’s defense committed three errors but made several key plays to keep Garfield off the scoreboard.
“Jacob Gotham did a great job behind the plate and we had a great defensive effort,” Coach Klepper said. “It was a great team win. Everybody contributed at some point in the game. It was good for them. Garrettsville was a good team.”
The Huskies, who improved to 6-9 overall, advanced to Thursday’s sectional final at No. 3 LaBrae.
Cardinal dropped a doubleheader to the Vikings earlier in the year but the games were competitive and the Huskies are ready to compete for the sectional title.