The Palm Beach Cardinals Report – April 11

Our exclusive weekly report on the 2007 edition of the Single-A Palm Beach Cardinals from our on-site beat reporter in Jupiter, Jim Rutledge.

The Palm Beach Cardinals have fought through two long rain delays and snakes on the field to finish the first week of the season with a record of two wins and three losses. The Cards faced major league pitchers Taylor Tankersley and Chris Volstad in their games against the Jupiter Hammerheads and stopped the St. Lucie Mets' four-game winning streak to start the season. If the first week is any indication, this is going to be an exciting 2007 season for the Palm Beach Cards.

Game Notes - 4/1-4/10 -
- After an hour and twenty minute rain delay, the Palm Beach Cardinals started their 2007 campaign. The Cards' season jumped off with a 9-3 victory against the Jupiter Hammerheads. The team combined dominating pitching and hot hitting to earn the victory. Starting Pitcher Tyler Norrick (pictured) earned the win pitching six strong innings allowing only one run and striking out four. Luke Gregerson entered the game in the seventh allowing two runs and John Mikrut picked up the save pitching a scoreless ninth. At the plate, new third baseman Allen Craig was a star, hitting a RBI double and his first home run of the season. Jose Martinez and Brandon Yarbrough also had strong performances. Martinez had two doubles and a RBI, Yarbrough added two more RBI's and the two of them combined for an exciting strike-‘em out, throw-‘em out double play.

Friday - Palm Beach batters struggled all game and were shut out 2-0, giving the Cards' their first loss of the season. Craig, Martinez and Mark Hamilton were the only players to register a hit for the Cards'. The struggles at the plate carried over into the field for Danilo Sanchez, who allowed three runners to steal bases on him, Jose Contreras had a fielding error and Martinez air-mailed one of his throws. The one positive for the Cards' was the pitching; Adam Ottavino took the loss despite giving up only two runs and striking out five. Mike Cooper pitched three dominant innings of relief, striking out four and allowing only one hit.

Saturday - The Jupiter Hammerheads jumped all over starting pitcher Trey Hearne (pictured) who gave up three runs in only five innings, walking three and throwing a wild pitch. Despite the tough outing, Hearne left with the game tied 3-3 in the sixth. Donnie Smith entered the game and quickly allowed two runs in his only inning on the mound. Scott Vander Weg was able to stop the bleeding, striking out two and allowing only one hit. At the plate, Yarbrough and Mike Ferris each had doubles.

Monday - The Hammerheads squeezed a 5-4 victory over the Cards' Monday night. 15 MPH winds gusting from left to right made for an interesting outing for Adam Daniels. The big lefty faced 25 batters in five innings, allowing nine hits and five runs in a disappointing outing. Cooper and Mikrut finished the game, allowing no runs and only one hit between the two of them. Yarbrough struggled defensively, allowing three Hammerhead runners to steal against him, but he made up for his problems on defense at the plate. Yarbrough registered a pair of hits and scored a run during the Cards' loss. Martinez helped out with an RBI triple and Casey Rowlett and Dan Nelson knocked in the other two runners.

Tuesday - Coming into Tuesdays game, the Palm Beach Cardinals were riding a three-game losing streak and an overall record of 1-3 for the 2007 season. Their opponent, the St. Lucie Mets, were riding a four-game winning streak and were undefeated for the season. Well, maybe the one hour rain delay cooled off the Mets because the Cards jumped all over them in the first, scoring three runs and later adding 11 more for a 14-1 victory. Yarbrough continued his hot hitting, driving in a run on a huge two out triple. Craig, Ferris and Nelson also drove in one run each. The Cards exploded again in the bottom of the sixth inning starting with Rowlett, who walked and stole second. After a Sean Danielson single to right, Nelson drove in Rowlett on a RBI double. After Danielson scored on a fielders choice, Ferris stepped up to the plate and drove a home run to right. The bottom of the seventh was just as nice for the Cards. Shane Robinson drove in two runners on a ground ball to left and Craig drove in two more on a triple. Gary Daley (pictured) pitched 4.2 strong innings striking out two and allowing only two hits. Relievers Nick Webber and Luke Gregerson pitched 3.1 innings of scoreless relief and Vander Weg gave up a run in the ninth.

- Third baseman Allen Craig (pictured) is far and away the star of this season so far. He's hitting .409 with a double, triple and a home run while driving in six runs.
- Starter Tyler Norrick earned the opening day victory pitching six strong innings allowing only one run and striking out six.
- Reliever Mike Cooper has pitched five scoreless innings of relief appearing in two games with six strikeouts.
- Catcher Brandon Yarbrough is hitting .357 with three runs batted in and a .462 on base percentage.
- Infielder Jose Martinez is coming out of the gates smoking hot, hitting .381 with four runs batted in and a stolen base.
- Reliever John Mikrut has given up no runs in his 3.2 innings pitched and has saved one game.

- Outfielder Nathan Southard is really struggling. He's hitting .056 with only one hit in his 18 at-bats this season.
- First baseman Mark Hamilton has struggled to get on base in the early part of the 2007 season. Mark is hitting .167 with a .235 on base percentage, and struck out four times. Hamilton has only three hits in 18 at bats.
- Adam Daniels gave up five runs in five innings pitched during Monday night's 5-4 loss to the Jupiter Hammerheads.
- Donnie Smith has pitched only one inning this season, but he gave up two runs on Saturday, giving him an 18.00 earned run average.

News and Notes
Friday's game was delayed by 15 minutes by a rattlesnake that made its way onto the field. The snake was noticed pre game and the teams were warned of its location. Then the snake made its way onto the field in the second, stopping play.

© 2007 All rights reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed.

The Cardinal Nation Top Stories