This report covers the week of Sunday, July 12th through Saturday, July 18th.
The Johnson City Cardinals finished this 3-2 week with an overall record of 11-11, with a positive move in the standings after a rain-shortened series with the Elizabethton Twins, a thrilling walk-off decision with the Greeneville Astros, and the first game of the first series of the year against the Bluefield Blue Jays.
Here’s how it all went down!
July 12th: Elizabethton Twins 2, Johnson City Cardinals 3
After losing their first game of the series against the Twins of Elizabethton, the Cardinals were eager to hit the field for the second game at Joe O’Brien Field. Johnson City started the game off quickly with an Edmundo Sosa score, but was unable to capitalize on opportunities, and did not score again until the top of the 9th inning. Fortunately for the Cardinals, after two runs in the 2nd inning, the Twins were scoreless for the remainder of the game by relievers Chandler Hawkins, Juan Caballero (win) and Sasha Kuebel (save). Luke Doyle, Edmundo Sosa, and Joey Hawkins all singled, and Ryan McCarvel added in an RBI for the Cardinals.
The Elizabethton/Johnson City rubber match was postponed due to rain on Monday evening.
July 15th: Johnson City Cardinals 0, Greeneville Astros 5
It was a tough Wednesday evening for the Cardinals as they took the field for their first game of a three-day series against the Greeneville Astros at Pioneer Park in Greeneville. This comes off the heels of last week’s series against the Astros, in which the Cardinals dropped two of three games at home.
The Astros stared the game off very strongly with two runs agianst Cardinals starting pitcher, Ronnie Williams. In a game consisting of multiple short, 3-up 3-down, innings and inconsistent hitting performances, although five Cardinals hitters obtained hits for the game, they were unable to get any runs on the board. Williams took the loss, though only two of his four runs allowed in three innings were earned.
July 16th: Johnson City Cardinals 7, Greeneville Astros 4
Coming off of their second shutout loss of the season to Greeneville on Wednesday night, the Cardinals were ready to take on the Astros in game two of the series on Thursday, and the outcome was, fortunately, very different for the Cardinals.
Julio Mateo, who leads the Cardinals in strikeouts, made his first start since the last time the Cards played the Astros on July 9th, and he allowed just one run in 2 2/3 innings. The Cardinals capitalized on the Astros inability to create offense and fired in three runs in the first inning. Edmundo Sosa hit the Cardinals lone homer of the game in the bottom of the second and also added another run, giving him his fourth multiple hit game of the season. Jonathan Escudero got the win with 2 2/3 innings of scoreless relief. This win marked the eleventh time in the first twenty games in which JC reached double-digit hits.
July 17th: Johnson City Cardinals 5, Greeneville Astros 4 (11 innings)
Heading into the final game of the Appalachian League series, the series was tied 1-1, and Johnson City was one game back of Greeneville, who took the outright lead in the West.
Both the Cardinals and the Astros remained scoreless until the bottom of the fourth, when the Cardinals broke the scoring drought with a score by Eliezer Alvarez. Collymore knocked the lone homer of the game for the Cardinals, which ended in thrilling walk off fashion for Johnson City.
After an intentional walk to Chris Chinea in the 11th, Ricardo Bautista was at the plate with bases loaded and no outs for the Birds and hit a deep fly ball to center field, allowing Alvarez to score the game-winning run. Starting pitcher Ramon Santos (7 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 2 SO) had a phenomenal night, his best of the year, and Caballero was granted the win.
The Cardinals infielders also provided an incredible defensive performance. This is the first time in 2015 that the Cardinals won on a walk-off decision, and the Cards pulled even with the Astros in the West standings.
July 18th: Bluefield Blue Jays 6, Johnson City Cardinals 0
Johnson City had a less than stellar showing in the opening game of the series against the Bluefield Blue Jays at Bowen Field. After a slow game with quick innings, the Blue Jays 6-0 defeated the Cards.
Starting pitcher Juan Bautista gave up three quick runs in the bottom of the first inning to get the Blue Jays rolling, and was eventually given the loss. Cardinals’ hitters managed just four hits and three walks and went scoreless.
17th rounder, catcher Chris Chinea, led LSU in both home runs and RBI in 2015, and he seems to not be missing a beat in rookie ball, but is picking right up where he left off with the Tigers. The rookie is in the top five in batting average in the league (.352), and has recorded 11 RBI in 16 games played for the Cardinals.
Newly added infielder Allen Staton, who joined the Cardinals roster on July 7th from the Gulf Coast League as a 2015 non-drafted free agent, is making himself known. Staton has hit in all eight games with Johnson City while crafting a .357 average. Four of his 10 hits went for extra bases, a home run and three doubles. Staton has four RBI.
20th rounder, second baseman Luke Doyle, has cooled after a hot start. This week, he went 3-for-13 (.230), dropping his season average from .300 to .271.
7/18: Catcher Riley Drongesen assigned to State College Spikes from Johnson City Cardinals.
After this 3-2 week of play, the Cardinals now have a record of 11-11. After pulling even with Greeneville after they won their road series against the Astros, they eventually fell into third place in the Appalachian League West, just one game back. The Greeneville Astros took over the first place spot after defeating the Kingsport Mets on Saturday evening, with a record of 13-11. The Bristol Pirates sit in last place with a record of 8-14.
The Cardinals will continue their series against the Bluefield Blue Jays in Bluefield, Virginia through Monday the 20th. The Cardinals will follow that series right up on Tuesday with a three-day home series against the Danville Braves, and they will wrap the week up with a road series against Princeton, starting on the 24th.
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