The 12U Heber Springs Cardinals have played with a stacked deck all season, using a superb lineup to win all but one game. Although, that one loss came against the Astros, who needed to beat the Cardinals twice in the championship round to steal the city tournament.
But, the Cardinals would not be denied as they pounded out eight hits in only two innings in a 17-5 rout of the Astros on Friday night at the Heber Springs Sports Complex.
Cardinals’ right-handed hurler Seth Jenkins pitched around a Julian Cameron walk and Nick Chaney single with one out in the top of the first inning, leaving them stranded with a pair of strikeouts.
The Cardinals got to work in the bottom half, scoring six runs on three hits, starting when Jacob Blasingame, who finished 2-for-2 with a triple, grand-slam and 5 RBIs, drew a leadoff walk.
Blasingame stole second and third before Brodi Goshien ripped an RBI single to center field for a 1-0 lead. After Jenkins walked, he and Goshien pulled off a double steal then Dillon Spivey poked a 2 RBI double down the right field line, pushing the Cardinals’ lead to 3-0.
With only one out, Brandon Loethen was hit-by-a-pitch and Jacob Johnston walked, which loaded the bases for Jacob Bremmon, who cleared the bases with a 3 RBI triple to the alley in left center.
Trailing 6-0, the Astros got out of the top of the first as pitcher Dillon Creasey recorded a strikeout then following a Jarred Lawrence walk, Creasey induced a groundout handled by Evan Moore at second.
The Astros battled back with four runs on two hits in the top of the second. Hunter Carter pulled a single through the hole on left side to leadoff the frame, then Corey Horton walked but Jenkins responded with a strikeout.
Following a walk drawn by Moore, Xavier Osburn worked a full-count, RBI walk that scored Carter as the Astros trimmed their deficit to 6-1. Creasey drove home Horton with an RBI groundout to Lawrence at first base, then Cameron nailed a 2 RBI double to deep right center, scoring Moore and Osburn as the Astros suddenly pulled within two at 6-4.
Jenkins got out of further trouble with the help of Spivey, who made a diving play from his second base position to rob Chaney of a base hit while saving a run and ending the top half of the second.
In the bottom half, the Cardinals blew the game wide open with 11 runs on five hits, ignited by a leadoff walk from Clay Feemster, who advanced to second on a wild pitch and scored when Blasingame smashed an RBI triple to left field.
Creasey fired back with a strikeout but Jenkins singled to center then Spivey roped an RBI single to center, scoring Blasingame as the Cardinals took a 9-4 lead. Loethen, Johnston and Bremmon followed with three consecutive walks, pushing Jenkins across the plate for a six-run advantage.
Brady Taylor was hit-by-a-pitch for an RBI that scored Spivey and Lawrence bashed a 2 RBI double to the gap in deep left center as the Cardinals took a 13-4 lead, causing the Astros to relieve Creasey with Chaney.
Chaney retired the first batter he faced on a chopper back to the mound but he issued a walk to Feemster before Blasingame launched a grand-slam home run, which he lined over the center field fence for a 17-4 lead.
Chaney pitched out of further trouble and the Astros scored the final run in the top of the third as Joseph Stacks walked and scored on a throwing error following a ground ball off the bat of Carter.
Leading 17-5 with the time limit expired, Jenkins completed the game when Lawrence secured a pop-up to first base as the Cardinals celebrated the city tournament championship.