Cardinals upend Cubs to take opener

The Wilmont Cardinals pushed across two runs in the bottom of the 7th inning to break a 1-1 tie and hold on for a 3-1 win over the Worthington Cubs in Game 1 in the best-of-three series of the opening round of the Region 13C tournament.

However, it was the Worthington Cubs who struck first in the top of the 1st inning off Cardinal starting pitcher Justin Saufley. Cubs leadoff hitter Joey Kinley led the game off with a single. Cubs #2 hitter Adam Munkel followed that up with a sacrifice bunt. However a throwing error by the Cardinals on the throw to first would put Kinley at third base and Munkel at second base with nobody out. Mitch Jensen drove in Kinley on an RBI groundout to give the Worthington Cubs the early 1-0 lead. Josh Wasmund followed up with a single to put runners on the corners with one out, but the Cubs rally would end there as Joe Joswiak grounded into a 5-4-3 double play to end the inning.

The pitching duel between Saufley and Cubs' starter Adam Munkle went back and forth, as both pitchers would put up zeros on the scoreboard until the bottom of the 5th inning. With Worthington leading 1-0 and the Cardinals at the plate, Lucas Henning led off the inning with a single and Joe Ahrens followed it up with a single to put runners at first and second with no one out. a successful sacrifice bunt by Adam Diekmann put the runners up to second and third with one out. But Munkel was able to keep the runners at bay, inducing Nick Ahrens to ground out for the second out. The Cardinals were able to take advantage of a Cubs error to tie the game as Jay Scheidt's grounder was misplayed and the game was tied 1-1.

That score would hold up until the bottom of the 7th inning, when the Cardinals would breakthrough with some timely hitting and aggressive base runnning. Adam Diekmann led the inning off with a single. Wilmont would decide to play small ball and Nick Ahrens got the job done with a successful sacrifice bunt to move pinch runner Tyler Hattermann to second base. Jay Scheidt followed up with a single into left field to score Hattermann from second, and Scheidt was able to second base on the play after a bobble on the play by the Cubs outfield. It took little time for the Cardinals to add a key insurance run as Joe Krivarchka blooped in a hit between 3 Cubs in shallow right field and Scheidt took a big turn at third and scored on the play to give Wilmont a 3-1 advantage.

It would be the only runs that Cardinals starting pitcher Justin Saufley would need, as Saufley was dominate on the mound after the 1st inning. Saufley would allow just one hit over the next 5 innings, including striking out 8 consecutive batters during that stretch. Saufley ended the night allowing one run on 5 hits, struck out 15 and issued no walks. Cubs starting pitcher Adam Munkel went the distance as well, giving up 3 runs on 9 hits, walked two and struck out five.

Krivarchka and Lucas Henning led the Cardinals with two hits each, with Scheidt, Steven Kremer, Blake Rogers, Joe Ahrens and Adam Diekmann each added a hit for Wilmont. Josh Wasmund led the Cubs with two hits on the night, with Joey Kinley, Joe Joswiak and Tommy Hayenga each had a hit for Worthington.

Wilmont leads the best-of-three series 1-0. Game 2 of the series will be held in Worthington at the Minnesota West Baseball field on Saturday afternoon at 2:00pm

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