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 Cardinals Hold Off Devil Rays in Boys Major League Final


July 4, 2007 - The Knightstown Elevator Cardinals took advantage of walks and errors, and used a crucial four-run fifth inning to defeat the White Flash Auto Parts Devil Rays 9-8 in the Optimist Club boys major league championship Saturday.

In a dramatic game that went back and forth the entire game, the Cardinals managed just two hits off of Devil Ray pitchers Kyle Adkins and Jordan Jessup. But the opportunistic Cardinals took advantage of eight walks, two hit batters and five errors to score seven of their nine runs.

The loss overshadowed a brilliant offense game for Devil Ray Jordan Jessup. He wowed the crowd with a hitting display that included two over-the-fence home runs and a double, getting more hits in the game than the entire Cardinal team.

In a game that featured four lead changes, the Devil Rays got off to a 2-0 lead in the first frame when Kyle Adkins walked, stole second, and went to third base on a wild pitch. Jake Kwisz sent a rocket fly ball to deep right field, but Max Weaver was there to make a good catch and keep the runner honest.

After Cardinal hurler Brandon Casteel got another out, he uncorked another wild pitch and Adkins scored as the D’Rays drew first blood. The first big blow of the game occurred on the next pitch, when Jordan Jessup sent a towering home run deep over the left-centerfield fence to increase the lead to 2-0.

The Cardinals came right back in their half of the first inning, however. Riley Casteel drew a walk, and with two out, Brandon Casteel sent a long fly ball that was misplayed, scoring Riley and putting the Cards on the board. The continuing action saw the Devil Rays commit two more throwing errors, allowing Brandon to also score on the play. The Cardinals had tied the game up without a hit, while the Devil Rays committed three errors on one play.

The Devil Rays regained the lead in the second frame when Caleb Kinnaman drew a walk, went to second on a while pitch, and scored on a Cardinal error. Brandon Casteel then appeared to take charge of the game, striking out four of the last five batters he faced, including the side in the third inning. Casteel gave up three runs on just two hits, retiring the last six hitters he faced.

Devil Ray staring hurler Jake Kwisz was just as effective, allowing two unearned runs on just one hit in his three innings of work. He struck out five.

Dustin Littleton came on to relieve Casteel in the fourth frame, and he set down the first two hitters he faced. Jordan Jessup then came to the plate and blasted another shot into the outfield. He attempted to stretch a double into a triple when second baseman Ben Haase had other ideas. Haase fired a perfect strike to Broderick Angel covering third, easily cutting down Jessup and ending the inning.

The Cardinals took their first lead of the game in the fourth inning, getting four men on board via three walks and a hit batsman. Jordan Jessup had trouble locating the strike zone, hitting Riley Casteel and issuing free passes to Dustin Littleton and Brandon Casteel. All three came in to score on wild pitches, and the Cards took a 5-3 lead into the fifth inning.

The Devil Rays wouldn’t go away and also benefited from some wildness from the pitcher’s mound. After having that great fourth inning, Littleton lost his touch in the fifth inning and walked Luke Mattix and Drew Jessup. He then hit Caleb Kinnaman to load the bases for Jared Davis, who singled home Mattix to cut the lead to 5-4.

Littleton appeared to be getting out of trouble when the struck out the next two hitters. But a wild pitch scored Drew Jessup, and Kennedy stole home to push the Devil Rays back on top, 6-5.

The dramatics continued in the bottom of the fifth, when the Cardinals sent 10 hitters to the plate, scoring four runs. Max Weaver walked, Zach Crain was hit by a pitch and Aaron Jackson reached on an error to load the bases with one out. Chris Sanders then drew a bases-loaded walk to force in the tying run, and Bayley Tinkle beat out an infield roller to drive home Crain and change the lead again. Two more bases-full walks sent Jackson and Sanders home to increase Cardinal lead to 9-6.

With just one more at-bat, the Devil Rays didn’t go away quietly. As a matter of fact, then went away with another loud boom. With two outs and the Cardinals one pitch away from winning the championship, Levi Jessup drew a walk on a full count pitch.

That momentary sigh of relief by Devil Ray fans was followed with a gasp from Cardinal fans, when Jordan Jessup launched his second home run of the game. The two-run shot was a line-drive bullet over the centerfield fence, and cut the lead to 9-8.

Luke Mattix followed that with a single, and suddenly the outcome was in doubt once again. Drew Jessup then hit a looping-liner that Cardinal second baseman Ben Haase caught for the third out, finally bringing an end to the see-saw battle.

Jordan Jessup ended up having a mammoth day for the Devil Rays, finishing the game 3-for-3 with two runs scored and three RBIs. Luke Mattix, Drew Jessup and Jarred Davis also hit safely for the Devil Rays, who out-hit the Cardinals 6-2 in the game.

Caleb Kinnaman scored twice, while Kyle Adkins, Levi Jessup, Luke Mattix and Drew Jessup also plated runs.

The Cardinals were a little more balanced offensively, with seven players scoring runs in the game. Bayley Tinkle and Alec Werden both had singles for the Cards, while Riley Casteel and Brandon Casteel each scored two runs.

Dustin Littleton, Max Weaver, Jack Crain, Aaron Jackson and Chris Sanders scored runs for the winners, who did not lose a tournament game on their run to the title.




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