FRONT ROYAL, VIRGINIA—One of Baseball Hall of Famer, Ernie Banks’s famous quotes was “It’s a great day for a ball game, let’s play two.” Well that’s exactly what the Cannons did on Thursday. The Cannons took on the Front Royal Cardinals and basically played 12 innings. The two teams finished up the last three innings from a suspended game earlier this season.
The first game resumed where it was delayed, which was the top of the seventh with the Cardinals ahead of the Cannons 5-3. Colin Reid would come in for the seventh and eighth innings and he pitched fantastic, retiring six straight Cardinals hitters.
The Cannons entered the home half of the seventh trailing, but got right to work with the bats. They started the inning with back-to-back singles from Onassis Matos and Nolan Ritchie. Raul Cabrera reached on an error by the first baseman. On that error, Matos was able to score, while Ritchie moved to third and Cabrera made it to second. The Cannons were within one run with runners on second and third with no outs. Sheldon Reed came up big with a 2-RBI single to push the Cannons ahead 6-5 and that is where the score would stay. Dalton Whitaker would come in, in the ninth to close out the game and notch another save on the season.
After a 20-minute break, the Cannons and Cardinals were ready for their regular scheduled game today. The Cannons were shutout in the top half of the first, only getting one baserunner. On the mound for the Cannons was Sean Gabel, who entered the game with 10.2 innings pitched in two previous starts. The bottom of the first was a little rocky, surrendering a leadoff walk, single, double and another single in succession. Three runs would cross home plate in the first for the Cardinals and they were up 3-0 at the end of one.
In the second, the Cannons would strike back. With one out, Trey McDyre reached on an error by second baseman Jordan Greene. Payton Marshall then singled putting Cannons on first and second with one out. Brenton Sanders would get on after a throwing error on the first baseman and load the bases for Raul Cabrera. Cardinals starting pitcher, Robbie Price threw a wild pitch to Cabrera, bringing home McDyre from third, Marshall would move to third and Sanders would go to second. Cabrera would later work a walk and load the bases for Andrew Zban. Zban would single to right field, bringing in Marshall from third. Sanders would move up to third, but Cabrera would get caught taking too big of a turn at second and would be tagged out, with the distraction from Cabrera, Zban was able to move up to second. Now the Cannons had runners on second and third with two outs but two runs also crossed the plate. During Andy Szamski’s at-bat Price was called for a balk, bringing home Sanders from third and allowing Zban to move to third. Szamski would single and bring home Zban from third. At the end of 1.5 innings, the Cannons led the Cardinals 4-3.
Gabel settled down in the second retiring the Cardinals in order 1, 2, 3. Price also had a good top of the third inning, retiring the first two Cannons he faced. Trey McDyre singled with two outs, but Price managed to get Marshall to groundout to end the top half of the third. Jordan Greene led off the bottom of the third with a double which fired up the Cardinals. Gabel bounced back, inducing a groundball to the next hitter Dominic Canzone, Greene would advance to third on the groundout. Kenny Bergman then hit a grounder to shortstop Trey McDyre, but he could not come up with the ball and Greene would score on the error making the score 4-4. Conner Pohl then hit another groundball to McDyre at short and he again couldn’t come up with the play, Bergman would advance to third and Pohl would remain at first. However, Cannons pitcher Sean Gabel would bounce back with an inning ending 1-3-2 double play to kill the 2-out rally and keep the game tied heading to the fourth.
Brenton Sanders led off the Cannon fifth with a hard groundout to Cardinals second baseman Trevor Rosenberg. Raul Cabrera followed up with a double and moved over to third on an Andrew Zban fly out to right field. With two outs and a runner on third, Andy Szamski was hit by a pitch. That brought up Trevin Esquerra, who already has a 3-run homerun this season and he delivered a HUGE blow again. Esquerra hit a 3-run bomb over the right field fence to give the Cannons a 7-4 lead. Ray Hernandez would single in the following at-bat but tried to stretch a single into a double and got thrown out by the left fielder. The top half of the fourth would end with the Cannons leading 7-4. Sean Gabel came out for the fourth and again retired the Cardinals in order 1, 2, 3.
In the fifth, Sheldon Reed led off with a booming double to center field. McDyre would sacrifice him over to third and with one out and a man on third, Price threw a wild pitch during Payton Marshall’s at-bat and Reed scored to make the score 8-4 in favor of the Cannons. Price would recover to strikeout Marshall and get Sanders to fly out to center field. Sean Gabel’s fifth inning started out with a leadoff single to Dylan Hardy. However, he got Jordan Greene to ground into a 5-4-3 double play and then induced a flyball out to Dominic Canzone.
The Cannons went down in the sixth without a threat, but managed to get a 2-out single from Andy Szamski, and the Cardinals went down similarly. After Bergman grounded out to Ray Hernandez at third, Conner Pohl reached on second on error on Payton Marshall in left field. However, the defense would bear down and get two more outs without allowing any damage. The score at the end of 6 would be 8-4 in favor of the Cannons.
After the Cannons eighth run in the fifth inning, they would not need anymore insurance. Hunter Peck came in relief in the seventh for Sean Gabel. Gabel would finish with 6 innings, 6 hits, 4 earned runs, 1 walk, and 2 strikeouts. Peck would strikeout the first hitter he faced, but hit the second batter, Joseph McGuinness. After a passed ball allowed McGuinness to move up to second, Dylan Hardy grounded out to shortstop Trey McDyre and McGuinness would move to third. Jordan Greene would draw a walk and steal second, the throw by Sanders would be late and that allowed McGuinness to score from third to make the score 8-5. Peck recovered well and got a ground ball hit back to him to end the inning.
The eighth went quickly for the Cannons, after two quick outs to start, Raul Cabrera singled to try to give them life in the eighth. Andrew Zban would give a little scare to the Cardinals, grounding out hard to end the inning. Tom Sutera came in to relieve Hunter Peck in the eighth after Peck walked the first hitter and gave up a single. Sutera came in and worked a dominant inning, getting Jayden Hassell to line out to shortstop Trey McDyre who then flipped to Raul Cabrera at second to get the 6-4 double play and rally killer. Sutera then struck out Thomas Johns to end the eighth. Hunter Peck’s final line was 1 inning, 1 hit, 1 earned run, 2 walks, and a strikeout.
The top half of the ninth was quick and easy for the Cardinals, as they retired the Cannons in order 1, 2, 3. Tom Sutera would do the same to the Cardinals to earn the save and preserve the Cannons victory 8-5. Sutera would finish with 2 innings pitched, no hits, no earned runs, no walks, and a strikeout.
The Cannons came away with two wins today and jump to 11-5 on the season to increase their lead to 2 games over the New Market Rebels to stay in first place in the North division. They return home to Fireman’s Field on Friday to take on the Strasburg Express at 7 PM with the gates opening at 5:30 PM.