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Carpenter, Cardinals down Bears to net third; both teams playoff-bound

By Caleb Adams

Orange Leader

LITTLE CYPRESS -The Bridge City Cardinals made it 20 straight years to qualify for the playoffs as they went on the road to defeat the Little Cypress-Maur3iceville Bears 2-0 at Don Gibbens Field Friday night behind a strong pitching performance by senior Sam Carpenter.

Both the Cardinals (15-12-1, 7-5) and Bears (13-14, 7-5) are in the playoffs with the Cardinals getting the No. 3 seed and the Bears the No. 4 seed.

The first few innings were a back and forth pitching duel. Carpenter got the nod for the Cardinals and would start off hot and not look back all game long.

Carpenter went the distance, moving to 7-1 on the season on the mound. He threw over 90 pitches in seven innings, giving up two hits, two walks and recording a huge 12-strikeout night. Carpenter’s performance on the mound was exceptional and a massive reason the Cardinals found the win.

Zach McNeil got the start for the Bears. He would go toe to toe with Carpenter all game, but he wouldn’t be able to go the distance. McNeil went six strong innings on 100 pitches with five strikeouts three walks and allowed three hits while giving up two runs on the night. He put his defense to work throughout the game, relying on them to get through a lot of the sticky situations he found himself in and the Bears played well in the field.

Offensively, the game didn’t have a ton of output from either lineups, as both pitchers found their grooves and kept them quiet.

Carpenter and Jude Danks were the big sticks for the Cardinals this game. Carpenter went 1-for-3 with a single, a walk and an RBI in the fifth inning. Not too much offense was had from either side, but the single Carpenter had in the fifth to score the Cardinals’ second run was the game’s biggest hit. Danks went 1-for-3 with a double and a run scored, the only extra base hit of the night.

The Cardinals get their first hit and run in the top of the fourth inning. Carpenter drew a walk with one out, and got pinch run by Trey Lovelace. Lovelace would steal second base before Kade Benoit hit a single to shallow center to put runners on the corners. A wild pitch would allow Lovelace to come across for the game’s first run. That’s all they would get, but the Cardinals took a 1-0 lead heading into the bottom of the fourth inning.

Carpenter helped himself out with a liner to left field to extend the Cardinal lead. Danks started things off with a double, followed by a single from JS Bearden that put runners on the corners. A walk to Slade Foreman would load the bases for Carpenter. Carpenter lined one to shallow left to drive in Danks from third and reload the bases with two outs. McNeil stopped the bleeding but the Cardinals took a 2-0 lead heading into the bottom of the fifth.