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Tough week leaves Cards at crossroads

April 30, 2015
By Nik Zirounis - Town Crier correspondent , The Town Crier

The Cardinals baseball team commenced last week with an 8-3 record and without a loss in the All-American Conference's Red Tier.

After being turned back in three of those four matches, Canfield finds itself 9-6 overall and 2-2 in the Red Tier. Now, with a full slate of challenging contests staring the Cardinals in the beaks, they must find the mojo they had before recently stumbling.

Canfield's only victory over the past four games was as part of a doubleheader played Saturday at home. A 4-3 win over visiting Streetsboro was the only positive part of the Cardinals' weekend.

Down 3-1 in the fifth inning, Canfield crossed the plate three times to take the lead for good. Sophomore Anthony Vross pitched 3 2/3 innings of outstanding relief to gain a hard-earned pitching victory. Junior Joey Machuga came on to pitch the final inning to grab a save. Junior Ryan Cheslik had the most important hit of the game, knocking in two runs.

That come-from-behind triumph in the nightcap made up for the disappointment of the afternoon's opener versus Springfield. The Tigers tore into the Cardinals early and often for an 8-2 win. About the only two Cardinal hitters to have any success in the first game Saturday were Machuga and Cheslik. Machuga had a double and a single while Cheslik had a pair of singles.

Singles were even harder to come by in Canfield's game versus Austintown Fitch on April 21. Fitch's Jared Kapturasky owned the Cardinals last Tuesday, whiffing nine and scattering just five hits. Meanwhile, Machuga was having a harder time trying to get the Falcons out. He gave up four runs on seven hits as the Falcons flew past the Cardinals, 4-1.

Offensively, Kyle Kovach kept Canfield as close as possible, going one for two with the day's only RBI for the Cardinals.

Speaking of the Falcons, they were able to bunch up the Red Tier by handing Poland its first conference loss (and first loss overall on the season) last week. That must have put the Bulldogs in a foul mood. On April 24, Poland took out its frustrations on the Cardinals with a 7-3 win. Cheslik scored two of those three Canfield runs. Pete Hernandez also popped a double in defeat.

As is the case at this part of the season, the Cards will not have much time to lick their wounds. A home-in-home series with Howland headlined this week's schedule. Canfield hosted Howland on Monday while the Cardinals traveled to Trumbull County on Tuesday.

A couple of non-conference games with West Branch and at Hudson followed the tussle with the Tigers.

On Monday and Tuesday, Canfield's conference championship hopes will be in the balance when it plays rival Boardman. The Spartans only had one conference setback at press time, so beating Boardman would be a big help to Canfield's cause.



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