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Cardinals' feathers ruffled in showdown

June 12, 2003

Bryce Alderton

Luckily for the Corona del Mar Pony Baseball Cardinals, there will be

another day.

That day is today, when the Cardinals take the field at Eastbluff

Park against the visiting Gold Eagles of Calvary Chapel, who defeated

the hosts, 10-4, on the same field Wednesday. The Gold Eagles, who

had lost to the Cardinals, 12-7, earlier in the tournament, gave CdM

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its first tournament loss, putting the championship for 13- and

14-year-olds on ice until today's 5 p.m. showdown.

"We were not our best today," CdM Coach Howard Kelly said.

The Cardinals committed 10 errors, including a few wild throws

around the infield that allowed the Eagles to pad their run total.

"Our guys were trying harder than usual, pressing too much on

double-play chances when they would bobble balls," Kelly added.

The Cardinals held steady with the Eagles as long as they could,

scoring two runs in the first inning to cut the lead to 3-2 and

trailed, 6-3, heading into the top of the sixth, when the visitors

plated three runs.

The Eagles' Chad Belmont -- already at third -- raced to touch the

plate after a called third strike got away from the catcher.

Once the catcher threw in attempt to throw a runner out at first,

Belmont sprinted down the line and slid home safely under the tag.

"We had a meltdown today, all teams do," CdM assistant Steve

Thomas said.

Thomas' son, Tom, who normally pitches middle relief, started and

gave the Cardinals four strong innings Wednesday. He struck out three

and walked only two. Kelsey Chase, normally a starter, struck out

three in his two innings and Alex Johnston, pitching for the first

time this season, fanned two in one inning.

Chase leads the league with 14 home runs, but was subdued in the

batter's box -- as were many of the Cardinals -- by a trio of Eagles'

pitchers who used combinations of breaking balls and fastballs to

post 13 strikeouts.

"As the visitors, we tried to jump on them early and hold the lead

with our [pitching]," Eagles' Coach Rick Dayton said.

CdM stranded nine runners while tallying only five hits to

Calvary's 14 hits. CdM catcher Regan Riley doubled, singled and added

an RBI while Johnston doubled twice and scored a run. Shortstop

Michael Ford singled and scored in the first while Chase reached on

an error and later scored on Devin Kelly's grounder that ended in two

Calvary throwing errors. Kelly walked and scored in the fourth on

Riley's double.

Tim Leber, Chase Knaup, Scott Eskew an Rick Townsend all saw

action Wednesday.

Dayton expects to see a different CdM team today. The Cardinals

will welcome the return of infielder and pitcher Michael Kordich, who

attended graduation from St. Margaret's School in San Juan Capistrano

Wednesday.

"[CdM] is a good team that gets its strongest player [Kordich]

back [today], so it will be a whole different game," Dayton said.

The Eagles defeated the Cardinals by one run during the regular

season.

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