Cardinals rumble past Panthers in sweep
By Ronnie Hughes
BRIDGE CITY —The Bridge City Cardinals cruised to a easy Class 4A bidistrict playoff win after downing the Liberty Panthers 6-1 in Game Two of a three-game series.
The Cardinals handled business in Game One on the road 7-4 on Friday.
The Cardinal bats tallied 10 hits Saturday in the win along with the Panthers committing five errors. Tanner Doiron picked up the complete-game win with no earned runs while pitching four strikeouts, but walked just one batter.
After walking the first batter of the game the Cardinals’ defense dealt the Panthers three consecutive outs to make quick work of the top of the first. The Cardinals started off stale at the plate as well, going three-up-three-down.
The Panthers again found no holes in the Cardinal defense in the top of the second. The Cardinals, however, got their bats moving in the bottom half of the inning. Doiron led off the inning being hit by a pitch with Derrick Dearing coming in to pinch run for him. Caleb Dubois helped push Dearing across home plate for the first run of the game with an RBI single sliced right up the middle. Dubois gave the Cardinals a 2-0 advantage after two complete after stealing home on a wild pitch.
Bridge City again shut down Liberty in the third with stellar defensive play, keeping the runners off the bags. The Cardinals left two stranded in the bottom half with Austin Fitts grounding out to second base.
The story remained the same for Liberty as they would see yet another three-up-three-down inning in the fourth followed by another two-run Cardinal inning. Kevin Gordon got on the bags after being hit by a pitch. Bradley Thibodaux hit a bouncer that skipped past short and third for an RBI double to score Gordon with Kyle Bergeron following his lead and ripping a shot in the same gap to score Thibodaux to give the Cardinals a 4-0 lead heading into the fifth inning.
Liberty finally notched a run in the top of the fifth inning. Miller Hartley singles to short and later crossed home plate after an errant throw, giving the Panthers an unearned run. Dakota Whitaker left one on base after giving Doiron his first strikeout of the evening.
Tod McDowell and the Cardinal offense continued to do work as they would scoot another run across in the bottom of the fifth. McDowell scored on a Chaston Miller RBI double that pushed the Cards lead to 5-1 with Rylee Harris leaving two runners on the bags on a ground out to first base.
The Cardinals scratched one more run across for security purposes in the bottom of the sixth inning. Bergeron scored on a Schuyler Thibodaux RBI sacfly to shallow center field. The Cardinal defense remained gritty and shut down the Panthers the final two innings to send the Panthers home and eliminated from the post season.
The Cardinals will advance to the area round of the 4A playoffs to face off against Belleville next week. Details of the game have yet to be determined.