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The Sun-Times - Heber Springs, AR
  • 8U Cards topple Braves for city title

  • Heber’s 8U Cardinals began to show signs of separating themselves from their competition at the end of the season, when they won two straight to narrowly claim the city’s four-team regular season title.

    The Cardinals continued winning in the city tournament, sweeping three games to win the crown, including a 7-4 come-from-behind victory over the Braves in Thursday night’s championship round.

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  • Heber’s 8U Cardinals began to show signs of separating themselves from their competition at the end of the season, when they won two straight to narrowly claim the city’s four-team regular season title.
    The Cardinals continued winning in the city tournament, sweeping three games to win the crown, including a 7-4 come-from-behind victory over the Braves in Thursday night’s championship round.
    Following a 2-1 win over the Rangers to reach the finals, the Braves needed two wins for a title and started strong against the Cardinals, scoring two runs in the top of the first inning.
    Zac Sweeten, who was thrown from a horse only a day earlier, led off with a bunt single. Then, with two out, Henry Cowles delivered an in-the-park home run to the alley in deep left center as the Braves took a 2-0 lead before the Cardinals got out of the top half.
    The Braves held the Cardinals scoreless in the bottom half despite a leadoff double to right field by Conner Riddle, who finished 3-for-3 with two doubles and a triple.
    After working around a two-out single from Paxton Singleton, the Cardinals tied the game in the bottom of the second with two runs on two hits.
    Ryan Crocker ignited the Cards with a double to center and Landon Luman followed with an RBI single to center. With two out, Luman alertly scored on a throwing error after Garrett Perry’s sharp ground ball.
    The Braves reclaimed the lead in the top of the third, starting when Will Birmingham beat out an infield single and Sweeten bunted for a single. With one out, Trevor Bly laid down a sacrifice-bunt, which moved two runners into scoring position for Cowles, who scorched a 2 RBI double to left field, plating Sweeten and Colton Turley, who reached on a fielder’s choice.
    The Cardinals escaped further trouble when Luman took care of a ground ball to second base off the bat of Keagan Billington and the regular season champions cut into their deficit in the bottom half of the third.
    With two out, Riddle roped a triple over first base and down the right field line, then Aryan Patel laced an RBI single to center, scoring Riddle before Patel was cut down at second, leaving the Braves with a 4-3 advantage heading into the fourth.
    Shortstop Ryan Crocker took care of two of three batters as Cardinals used steady defense while retiring the Braves in order in the top half and they took their first lead in the bottom of the fourth.
    Hunter Kent sparked the Cardinals with a one-out double to left center and Crocker followed with an RBI single up the middle, scoring Kent and tying the score at 4-all.
    Page 2 of 2 - With two out, Caleb Parish sent a grounder to the left side that turned into a throwing error, which allowed Crocker to score before Parish was tagged out between third and home.
    Leading 5-4, the Cardinals benefited from three strikeouts in the top of the fifth and they added two insurance runs in the bottom half, starting when Perry beat out an infield single.
    Kyler Phillips then sent a one-out grounder to the left side that trickled away into the outfield as Perry motored all the way around from first base for a run while Phillips pulled up at third.
    Riddle stroked an RBI double to center that scored Phillips as the Cardinals took a 7-4 lead and time expired moments later.
     
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