Wednesday was a chance for the Camden Fairview Cardinals baseball squad to get their season on back on track after losing to the Ashdown Panthers 9-3 Tuesday.
The Cardinals started the day with an overall record of 2-5, 2-1 in conference play. Camden Fairview looked to regain some confidence as they hosted the Magnolia Panthers.
Like the Cardinals, the Panthers (3-4; 0-3 in conference play) has struggled this season this new season. Magnolia, however, has struggled in 4A-7 conference play; the Cardinals were in the 2-1 conference.
The Cardinals got off to a slow start, but were able to claw their way back into the game. But, in the final inning, the Panthers pulled away to finish with a big win while the Cardinals lost to their rivals, 12-5 at home.
It was a rough first inning for Cardinals senior starting pitcher Jaxson Bradshaw, as he allowed the Panthers to account for three runs to begin the game. The Cardinals were unable to match that at the bottom of the first inning; instead, they were out within their first three batters.
The Panthers were able to get their first two batters on base at the top of the second inning, when they also scored another run. The Cardinals were finally able to develop a rhythm at the bottom of the second inning as sophomore outfielder Ben McKinney was able to get on base from a walk. Junior designated hitter Landon Morgan and senior infielder Dylan Wendling were able to get on base and help get McKinney home for the Cardinals' first run of the game.
Magnolia came into the top of the third inning with a 4-1 lead and continued to establish themselves with impressive hits. After allowing three batters to get on base, a frustrated Bradshaw was replaced by freshman infielder Jaden Bryant. Bryant got his first batter out, but fielding errors allowed the three players on base to get to home. Following that play, Bryant and the fielding team accounted for two outs in the next three batters to give Magnolia a 7-1 lead.
Camden Fairview was able to reduce the damage by getting on base with a single-base hit and then later getting a run due a Panthers' fielding error at the bottom of the third inning. Senior Martavius Thomas and Bryant were able to get on base shortly afterwards. Thomas was able to get a run thanks to help from McKinney.
The next three innings were difficult for the Panthers, who had trouble establishing a batting rhythm against Bryant's stellar pitching. The Cardinals went into the bottom of the fifth inning down, 7-3. Thomas was able to get on base with a single-base hit. Two batters later, senior catcher Carson McKinney was able to account for a home run. The Cardinals failed to get more players on base with the following two batters.
After a nearly converted home run hit from Thomas to end the sixth inning, the Cardinals had one more chance to hold Magnolia and then account for three runs to give themselves the win. At the top of the seventh inning, Bryant's pitching was starting to wear down. The first two batters got on base through walks and two batters later, the Panthers were able to add two more runs off a solid base hit deep in the outfield. They scored once more thanks to fielding errors by the Cardinals.
Down 12-5, the Cardinals tried to find momentum to finish the game on a high note. Carson McKinney was able to deliver a double-base hit, but the Cardinals had their two next batters out to end the game.
As a team, the Cardinals accounted for 10 hits, three walks and three strikeouts. Senior A.J. Alsobrook was 2-4 at the plate, accounting for two hits and a run. Senior shortstop Martavius Thomas was 2-4 at the plate, accounting for two runs and two hits. Carson McKinney accounted for two RBIs in his home run.
The Camden Fairview Cardinals (2-6; 2-2 in conference play) will look to get their season back on track when they take on the El Dorado Wildcats (5-2) on Mar. 24.