The Redlegs were able to rally behind two more outstanding pitching performances from Aaron Carmack and Michael Cookson on Sunday, notching two victories in a double header sweep of the Dayton Cardinals.
Game 1 moved along at a brisk pace, and both offenses were having trouble getting things going as Aaron Carmack and Joshua Cvetkovich locked horns in a terrific battle. The Redlegs got on the board in the 3rd when Matt Morrison and Jacob Robinson both singled, followed by a walk to Kyle Arend to load up the bases with no outs. Cvetkovich then induced a timely double play ball that the Cardinal defense capitalized on, though Morrison was still able to score to put the Redlegs up 1-0.
Unbeknownst to the home team at the time, but that was all the support Carmack would need. Aaron continued to cut through the Cardinal lineup, and when all was said and done he turned in his 4th career shutout (3 regular season, 1 playoff). He allowed only 5 hits and struck out 7 Cardinal batters in the effort.
The Redlegs defensive did their part in the shutout bid too. In the first, after a leadoff single, the next batter ripped a hard grounder at 2nd base which would be the first grounder Brandon Howard has seen this season. You wouldn’t have known it though, as he quickly scooped it and applied a perfect tag on the advancing runner and still delivered a strike to first for the double play.
In the 4th, After a leadoff double and a walk put runners on with no outs, a deep pop up into right center field made its way past Jacob Robinson who attempted a sliding catch. Matt Mattice was ready with the backup though, and quickly snatched the ball and fired to Matt Morrison who relayed a perfect strike to Kyle Arend waiting at the plate to nail the Cardinal base runner. After a pop up for the 2nd out, Matt Mattice made a nice sliding catch in right field to help fend off the threat. Mattice also made a diving catch to snatch a lead off double from the Cardinals in the 5th.
Camden was able to push 4 more runs across late in the game, 2 in the 6th and 2 in the 7th. Sacrifice flys from Kyle Arend and Mike Hartman netted the two runs in the 6th while Ryan Gross and Tim Sullivan played some small ball in the 7th by bringing a run home each via ground balls to 2nd base.
Game two went much the same, at least early on. The Redlegs jumped out early thanks to a two out rally started by Kyle Arend. Arend and Mike Hartman both singled before James Robinson delivered an RBI base hit to get Camden on the board. Brandon Howard then knocked a couple of runs home with a base hit.
Michael Cookson picked up right where Carmack left off and he delivered 3 scoreless innings to start the game. But after 10 scoreless frames, the Cardinals finally broke through and scored a run in the bottom of the 4th. Cookson responded and promptly struck the next 3 batters out to end the inning and the threat. Cookson’s battery mate, Ryan Gross, did his part in the sterling pitching performance as well. In the 2nd, Gross backhanded an outside pitch and in one motion fired a seed to 2nd to thwart an attempted stolen base. In the 5th Gross again denied a stolen base, this time at 3rd base for the 1st out of the inning.
The Redlegs then started putting things away in the 5th and would end up scoring 8 runs over the final 3 frames. Matt Morrison walked to start the 5th, followed by a walk to Jacob Robinson. Morrison and Robinson then executed a double steal to put both runners in scoring position. Kyle Arend then smacked a hard grounder to 3rd base, but a heads-up defensive play ended up narrowly producing an out as Morrison attempted to score. Mike Hartman would then triple down the right field line to bring two runs home, followed by an RBI by James Robinson.
Kyle Arend knocked two runs in with a two out double in the 6th, bringing in Ryan Gross who singled and Tim Sullivan who reached on an error.
Brandon Howard walked with one out in the 7th, followed by Mattice who reached on an error and Ryan Gross who singled. All three would eventually score thanks to wild pitches.
The Cardinals were able to scrape two additional runs together off of Cookson in the 5th and 6th, but it wasn’t enough to put a dent in the offensive damage the Redlegs had already done. Cookson would end up going the distance, tossing 7 innings, allowing 6 hits, and striking out 6 hitters to pick up his team leading 2nd win of the young 2019 season. Cookson (12.7 K per 9 innings) now stands in 2nd place in the MVABL in strikeouts, only trailing 2018 Cy Young award winner Jeff Beal (13.9 K per 9 innings) of the South Dayton Slammers.
With the sweep, the Redlegs now stand at 5-1 and currently occupy 3rd place in the MVABL standings. They will look to make it 6 straight wins next Sunday (6/2/19) when they take on the Mad River Machine (0-3) at Madison High School at 1:00PM.