by Dennis Atwood - firstname.lastname@example.org
FRONT ROYAL -- The Front Royal Cardinals managed only four hits and couldn't advance a runner past second base, while the visiting Haymarket Senators capitalized on their six hits for a 2-0 victory in North Division Valley Baseball League action Wednesday at Bing Crosby Stadium.
The Senators stroked four doubles and used small ball to score on a sacrifice fly and safety squeeze bunt as both teams ended the contest with 5-5 records.
Cardinals first baseman Corey Dick (UNC-Wilmington) reached second base three times, with a lead-off double with no outs in the second inning, a one-out walk before advancing to second when Cody Yount reached on an error in the fourth, and ended up on second base on a catcher's throwing error after a dropped third strike with two outs in sixth frame.
But Dick got no further on any of those opportunities.
"It was just one of those games, great job with the pitching on both sides," Dick said. "I thought we hit it all right -- even with just four hits, we hit it right at people at times. In situations like that, you want to get a run across, but that's the game. We have try to snag one from them [Thursday]."
The Senators got on the board in the third inning when John Williams lashed a solid liner into the left-center gap that rolled to the wall, and advanced to third on Patrick Wiese's double off the wall in straight-away center.
Vincent Redmond's fly ball to right field was deep enough to enable Williams to tag up and score the game's first run on the sac fly.
Haymarket second baseman Travis Ferrick powered a seventh inning, lead-off double to the wall in straight-away center and right fielder Nick Beall followed up with a single, moving Ferrick to third.
With one out, Josh Radford laid down a superb bunt four feet inside first base, and was barely thrown out as Ferrick scored the second run of the game on the safety squeeze.
Both starting pitchers put in good performances.
The first walk of the game came in the fourth inning, when Senators starter John Williams issued a free pass to Dick. Haymarket reliever Matt Abramson issued the game's only other walk to Matt Murakami in the eighth, after he expended only three pitches in getting Billy Fleming to ground into a 1-6-3 double play to end the Cardinals' seventh.
Williams worked 6 1/3 innings, giving up four hits and striking out five to pick up the win and improve to 2-0. Shay Maltese came on in the ninth and slammed to the door on the Cardinals by striking out the side to pick up his first save.
Front Royal starter Trevor Graham threw for seven innings, giving up two earned runs on five hits, with eight strikeouts and no walks, to take the tough loss and fall to 1-2.
Ryan Mayhew struck out the side in relief for the Cardinals, and Jon Fitzsimmons shut out the Senators in the ninth on a hit, a walk, and finished by striking out the last two batters.
"We struggled a little bit offensively," Cardinals manager Clayton Kuklick said." I thought our pitching staff kept us in the game, again. We've just got to do a better job offensively, be more aggressive and get some guys going.
"We gotta figure it out and get a little payback. I'm confident we can get it done."
The win puts Haymarket up 2-1 in the eight-game, head-to-head season series. The Cardinals travel to Haymarket tonight to take on the Senators again.