PARK HILLS — Stan Walden took over the Mineral Area College Cardinals baseball season in the off season, and on Thursday his not so new team treated him to a doubleheader win over the Central Methodist Eagles 6-0 and 12-2. Walden had been the assistant coach for the Cardinals prior to 2012.
The teams couldn’t have picked a better day in February as the temperature settled near the 70 degree mark for most of the afternoon with the sun shining and at times the wind blowing out.
Pitching like they already had half a season behind them, Dylan McKewen and Jeff King kept the Eagles on their heels as they both pitched two hitters for their first win.
Mineral Area 6, Central Methodist 0
McKewen went through the Eagles starting line-up with ease as he struck out five batters and got the other four to ground out to a stellar defense. McKewen faced only 23 batters in pitching the complete game.
Alfredo Souffront hit a double for the Eagles in the fourth inning, and a ball that got away from second baseman Tyler Bunge might have scored the first run, but Bunge recovered to gun down Souffront at the plate after he tried to take two bases on the infield play.
MAC’s defense stopped threats by the Eagles in the fifth and sixth innings as well. McKewen hit one batter in each inning, but the Cardinals turned a double play, and catcher Cody Garlington gunned down a runner to erase both runners from the basepaths.
A pair of walks set up an RBI single by Brad Ridings in the bottom of the third, and a booted ball by the Eagles allowed a second run to score for the Cardinals.
Mineral Area tacked on two more runs in the fourth with another single by Ridings to drive in both runs. An RBI triple by Tanner Glore and a single by Ryan Bradshaw knocked in the Cardinals last two runs in the sixth inning.
Mineral Area 12, Central Methodist 2
With a couple of walks that turned into runs, Cardinal pitcher Jeff King spotted the Eagles a 2-0 lead in the first inning of the second game, but he would shut them down from there, allowing only one more single in the game by the visitors.
The Cardinals did not recover until the bottom of the third inning when they started the first of three four-run strings. Ethan Bullard, the No. 9 hitter in the game, became instant hero when he hit a home run over the left-field fence The home run was the start of a six-batter string of extra-base hits.
Brad Matson and Tyler Bunge followed the home run with a double, Tanner Glore drove a pitch into the gap in left center for three bases, and Chris Ostrowski and Brad Wright each hit a double. Wright drove in three more with a home run over the right field fence in the fourth, and a series of Eagle errors in the sixth allowed Dominique Smith to drive in the final run with a single.
King continued to keep the Eagles quiet as he struck uot five batters in the later innings, and reliever Wayde Roth whiffed two of the three batters he faced.
Next up for the Cardinals is a trip to St. Louis to play Fontbonne on Tuesday.