Friday, August 29
The Springfield Cardinals didn't win the 2008 Texas League Championship or even make the playoffs, but the largest crowd of the season was on-hand Friday night to watch their team play the most exciting game of the year, and prove once again that there are no fans like Cardinal Fans--no matter what league they follow.
The crowd of almost 10,000 watched the Redbirds fight for their playoff lives as they rallied from a sure defeat to beat the Tulsa Drillers 6-5 in 13 innings. It was the last regular home season game scheduled at Hammons Field and it could not have been more exciting.
Brandon Yarbrough got things started in the second inning with a two-run triple off
the fifth inning the Drillers took their first lead of the night, but
The game remained tied and went into extra innings until the 12th when Tulsa could have ended Springfield's playoff hopes as Eric Young's two-run double off eventual winner Jon Mikrut (4-3) put the Drillers up 5-3.
The Cards didn't' give up though, as Matt Pagnozzi led off the 12th with a single, then moved to third on a hustle-double by Daryl Jones. Daniel Descalso followed with a deep drive to center field. Although Dexter Fowler made the catch, both Jones and Pagnozzi moved up, with Pagnozzi scoring to make it 5-4. Casey Rowlett followed with another sac fly, as his drive to left plated Jones to tie the game at 5-5.
Tied at 5-5 in the 13th, Andrew Brown and Donovan Solano singled to open the inning. Rapoport followed with a soft line drive to right-center field. Brown scored without a play, giving the Cards the come-from-behind win, keeping their playoff hopes alive.
Saturday, August 30
Adam Ottavino (3-7) turned in one of his best performances of 2008, firing seven innings of one-run baseball to earn the win. Ottavino allowed just four hits, getting some defensive help along the way.
1-0 in the third, thanks to an Allen Craig RBI single, Ottavino gave up a long
fly ball to right field off the bat of Brian Stavisky. Right fielder Mark Shorey braced himself against the four-foot high wall in right field, reached
high in the air to make the catch, then toppled over the wall and into the
Ottavino was taken deep by Adam Morrissey in the seventh, as the Travs made it a 2-1 game. Ottavino would retire the final three hitters in the seventh, before turning it over to Josh Dew in the eighth. Dew worked two scoreless innings, benefiting from a double-play in the ninth, to earn his second save of the year.
Sunday, August 31
Arkansas Travelers ended their eight-game losing streak, dropping the Cardinals
on Sunday night by a final score of 5-3 at
Mura allowed three unearned runs in the bottom of the first inning, as the Travs grabbed the early advantage. Nate Sutton opened the inning by reaching on an error. Wil Ortiz and Brian Stavisky would follow with back-to-back singles, loading the bases. Mura got Corey Smith to pop up for the first out, then got Adam Morrissey to fly to center field. Morrissey's ball was deep enough for a sac fly, as Sutton scored to make it 1-0. Mark Trumbo then followed with a two-run triple, scoring two to make it 3-0.
In the bottom of the inning, the Travs came right back to take the lead for good. Coby Smith opened the inning with a double off Mura. After moving to third base on a sacrifice, Smith scored on Wil Ortiz's RBI double. Three batters later, Ortiz scored on Adam Morrissey's RBI single, giving the Travs a 5-3 lead.
Monday, September 1
Travs scored three times in the bottom of the eighth inning against
The Redbirds made it a 2-0 advantage, as Casey Rowlett singled to open the sixth inning. Rowlett stole second and moved to third on a pitch in the dirt. Rapoport followed with an RBI single, giving the Cards a two-run lead.
who joined the St. Louis Cardinals in
Texas League President Tom Kayser announced on September 2, that Hammons Field has been voted the 2008 Texas League Field of the Year.
The award, which is the second consecutive for Hammons Field, is voted upon by all eight Texas League managers.
Very fittingly, Head Groundskeeper Brock Phipps and his entire crew have been named the 2008 Texas League Field Crew of the Year. "It's an absolute honor to receive this award for a second straight season," Phipps said. "I'm very proud of our crew and our staff for all the hard work that's gone into this field."
It has been a great season and I look forward to sharing another with the Birdhouse gang in 2009. The 2009 season begins on April 9, at Hammons Field and I hope to see you all there. Have a great winter. And "Go Cardinals!"