Big inning in the Cards in D-II sectional final
Mooney gets Canfield next in D-II district
By Dan Hiner
The Cardinal Mooney baseball team got off to a slow start offensively in Tuesday’s Division II sectional final against Howland.
But for head coach Al Franceschelli and the Cardinals, it was better late than never.
After going hitless in the first three innings, the Cardinals exploded for a nine-run fifth in Cardinal Mooney’s 11-2 win at Cene Park.
“I can’t remember the last time we [we’re no-hit] going into the fourth inning,” Franceschelli said. “They’re a tough team. The score doesn’t show it, but it was a hard-fought win.
“We didn’t start getting into the game until the fifth inning. And it was credit to them.”
Seven of Cardinal Mooney’s nine batters drove in at least one run.
The Cardinals (15-4) sent 13 batters to the plate and had nine hits in the fifth.
Cardinal Mooney grabbed a 3-2 lead on a squeeze by J.T. Ogden to drive home Ethan Shaw.
Jake Fonderlin extended the lead to 4-2 with a RBI double to help get Mooney’s bats going. Fonderlin finished 2 for 4 with two RBIs and two runs scored.
Antonio Page hit a two-run double in Mooney’s breakout inning to push the game out of reach. He finished 1 for 3 with three RBIs and a runs scored.
Howland pitcher Hayden Parker, who got ahead of batters in the first three innings, started falling behind in the count.
The Cardinals capitalized by jumping on the fastball and shortening their swings.
“When pitcher get behind in the count, it’s kinda hard to throw a breaking ball for a strike. They gotta rely on their fastball,” Howland head coach Justin Drapp said.
“[Mooney has] good hitters and they were sitting back on the fastball. And that’s when they did their damage.”
Parker allowed nine runs on eight hits and three walks while striking out three in 42/3 innings.
Matt Hooper relieved Parker in the fifth. Parker allowed two runs on three hits and struck out one in 11/3 innings.
Cardinal Mooney freshman Brandon Mikos allowed seven hits, two walks, two runs — one earned — and struck out nine in a complete game.
The big inning was a welcome sight to Mikos. The run support allowed him to calm down and focus in the later innings.
“Started off a little slow, but once we got nine that inning, I started feeling comfortable in my pitches,” Mikos said. I just threw strikes and my team did the rest.”
A two-out throwing error by Page gave Howland (3-17) an early 1-0 in the first.
Dylan Keller drove in the Tigers’ other run on a RBI single in the second. Keller was 2 for 4 with an RBI and a run scored.
The Cardinals will play Canfield in the district semifinals on Tuesday.
Franceschelli knows the reigning Division II district champs will be a tough opponent.
“[Canfield is] well coached, they play a good schedule and they got a great program,” Franceschelli said. “But, hey, we’re gonna do everything we can. They’re the higher seed. We’re gonna go after ‘em.”