The Springfield Cardinals Report: Week Eleven

Our exclusive weekly report on the 2007 edition of the Double-A Springfield Cardinals of the Texas League. The Cards are celebrating their first-ever championship.

The Springfield Cardinals moved into a tie for first place in the Texas League North Division on Sunday, June 11, after beating the Arkansas Travelers 4-3. The win put the Cards over .500 for the first time this season and gave them their first share of first place this year. Five days later, they won the first half Texas League North Division pennant when they beat the Wichita Wranglers 7-3 in Wichita. It was the Cards' first-ever Texas League pennant.

 

Needless to say, the team and the fans were very happy when the Cards returned to Hammons Field on Sunday to face the Arkansas Travelers in a four game series.  The first three games did nothing to make anyone happier, as the Cards fell on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday to Arkansas. A good thing they clinched the pennant when they did.

 

But what a difference a day can make. On Wednesday night the Cards, Playing without Joe Mather, who had been called up to Triple-A Memphis, came away with a win.  And they repeated on Thursday night with a trouncing of Tulsa, in a come from behind 3-2 victory.

 

Mather's leaving for Memphis left a spot open for the Cardinals front office to fill and from first appearances, it looks as though they have made the right choice. The minor league decision-makers brought Mark Hamilton up from High-A Palm Beach on Tuesday to Double-A Springfield to stand in at first base.

 

Hamilton, a 22-year-old 6 foot, 3 inch, 220 pound infielder, was a second draft pick out of Tulane in 2006 and has been playing in the Florida State League where he hit 13 home runs, 12 doubles and had 49 RBI. Hamilton was a mid-season All-Star selection in the Florida State League. 

 

Hamilton picked up his first Double-A hit Wednesday night, a run-scoring double to make it 3-1 Cardinals. The Travs then tied the game at 4-4 in the eighth inning but Springfield would go on to score three runs in their half of the inning to beat the Travelers, 7-4. In a rather twisted turn of fate, Jason Motte, a hard-throwing catcher-turned-pitcher, would blow a save by allowing men on base to score and tie the game, but wound up getting the win when the Cardinals scored three times in the bottom of the eighth inning - isn't baseball wonderful?

 

On Thursday night, June 21, Casey Rowlett's two-out RBI single brought home Bryan Anderson with the winning run in the bottom of the ninth, as the Cardinals topped the Tulsa Drillers by a score of 3-2 at Hammons Field.

 

With two outs in the ninth inning, Rowlett singled just to the right of Tulsa second baseman Corey Wimberly.  Bryan Anderson, who singled to open the ninth inning to extend his hitting streak to ten straight games, dove in ahead of the throw from center fielder Chris Frey, giving the Cardinals their second straight win.

 

Tulsa reliever Jarrett Grube (4-2) took the loss, allowing the winning run in just 2/3 of an inning.

 

Cards' reliever Matt Scherer (4-3) earned the win, firing two scoreless frames out of the pen.

 

Springfield starter Cory Rauschenberger was outstanding over seven strong innings.  Both teams were scoreless going to the sixth inning, when Rauschenberger got into some two-out trouble.  Wimberly worked a two-out walk and scored the game's first run on Chris Frey's two-out triple to left field, just out of the reach of a diving Mark Shorey, giving Tulsa a 1-0 lead.  Christian Colonel followed with an RBI double, making it 2-0.

 

Rauschenberger allowed just two runs on three hits in the no-decision, striking out six while walking three.

 

Tulsa starter Samuel Deduno was equally impressive, taking a shut-out into the bottom of the sixth inning.  Leading 2-0, Springfield put runners at the corners with no outs for Colby Rasmus.  Deduno induced Rasmus into a double play, as Sean Danielson scored to make it 2-1.

 

A Tulsa error opened the door for the Redbirds in the eighth, as Shorey reached on a two-base throwing error by Wimberly.  After a sacrifice by Casey Rowlett moved Shorey to third, Danielson ripped an RBI single to left-center field, tying the game at 2-2.

 

Deduno also got a no-decision, giving up two runs (one earned) on just six hits over eight innings.

 

Springfield's Jarrett Hoffpauir led the Cards with three hits on the night, the only player with a multi-hit game.

 

Springfield moves to 2-1 in the second half and 38-32 overall.  They look to make it three straight wins, sending Jaime Garcia (3-6) to the mound against Tulsa's Ryan Mattheus (4-4) on Friday night.

 

 

 

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